BALTIMORE — Stephen Strasburg’s weary right elbow was stiff and in dire need of some rest, so the Washington Nationals put their winningest pitcher on the 15-day disabled list Monday.

The right-hander was willing to pitch through the pain for the NL East-leading Nationals, but Manager Dusty Baker had other plans.

“I told him we hadn’t won anything yet and that we had to look at the big picture,” Baker said. “Hopefully he’ll be good in September and hopefully in October.”

Baker expected Strasburg (15-3, 3.59 ERA) to spend the minimum amount of time on the DL.

“He knows how bad we need him to pitch,” Baker said. “I had to explain to him that it’s not hero time.”

Asked if he considered it to be a precautionary move, Strasburg replied, “One hundred percent.”

After bolting to a 15-1 start this season, Strasburg was 0-3 with a 14.66 ERA over his past three outings.

METS: Just as they hoped to gain momentum for a second-half playoff run, the Mets absorbed yet another hit to their vaunted starting rotation when lefty Steven Matz was placed to the disabled list with a shoulder injury.

Though no structural damage was found, Matz was diagnosed with left shoulder tightness.

Right-hander Robert Gsellman will be promoted to take Matz’s spot on the roster.

RANGERS: Texas cleared a spot on its active roster for Derek Holland to make his first start in two months, but it still has to make another move before the left-hander pitches Tuesday at Cincinnati.

While the Rangers were off Monday, the team optioned right-hander Nick Martinez to Triple-A Round Rock.

The Rangers will have to make a corresponding move on their 40-man roster before Tuesday’s game for Holland, who has been on the 60-day disabled list because of left shoulder inflammation. His last start for Texas was June 20.

Holland is 5-5 with a 5.20 ERA in 14 starts for the Rangers this season.

PIRATES: Infielder David Freese signed a two-year, $11 million contract that takes him through the 2018 season.

PADRES: San Diego recalled infielder Luis Sardinas from Triple-A El Paso. Sardinas, who was acquired from the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 15, hit .263 in five games at El Paso.

Outfielder Jabari Blash was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to Friday, with a sprained left finger.

ROCKIES: Colorado recalled right-handed reliever Carlos Estevez from Triple-A Albuquerque and placed right-hander Scott Oberg on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 20, with axillary artery thrombosis in his right arm.

Estevez went 2-7 with 11 saves and a 5.28 ERA in 49 appearances before being optioned to Albuquerque on Aug. 19. He was replaced as the closer by Adam Ottavino after blowing consecutive saves earlier this month.

DARRYL STRAWBERRY SAID Monday that he “knew” Dwight Gooden had a drug problem during the taping of their ESPN 30-for-30 documentary last year, but “I kept it quiet.”

But Strawberry, speaking in a telephone interview, said he decided last week that he would no longer cover for his longtime former teammate after Gooden failed to show for a WFAN appearance, prompting Strawberry to go public about his fear for Gooden’s life.

Gooden responded Saturday by saying he’s “well” and added in a text message Monday that Strawberry is levying “false accusations.”