The Washington Times - April 22, 2011, 06:48PM

PITTSBURGH — The rain that washed away the Nationals’ Friday night game against the Pirates also altered reliever Todd Coffey’s plans to test his strained left calf with some fielding practice.

But the right-hander got in some sprints on a Woodway treadmill at PNC Park and came through the running session reporting no issues with the calf. Both he and manager Jim Riggleman expect Coffey to be ready to come off the disabled list on Sunday when he’s first eligible.


“I just did some hard sprints on the treadmill and everything felt fine,” Coffey said. “(Because) it’s a Woodway, you can use your own power to run it so I’d be at a dead stop and run as hard as I can off it. (There were) no issues.”

Coffey still had to get his throwing for the day in but wasn’t worried that it would create a setback as throwing has never caused pain in the calf. The concern was more about his ability to field his position but after running Friday he didn’t think that would be a problem anymore either.

“(I feel) a huge difference,” Coffey said when asked to compare his pain level to when he first strained the calf. “The only soreness I have now is tender soreness from when they push on it, prod on it, grind on it — treatment soreness. As far as actual inside the muscle soreness, I don’t feel any.”

Coffey is know for his unique entrance from the bullpen — which he makes at a full sprint. He said that he has no plans to abandon that part of his routine for now but he may take the first run at 50 percent, just to make sure everything feels OK.

“If everything feels normal, I will,” he said. “I”m sure the first time out I’ll probably go 50 percent but if all goes well, I will (keep sprinting in). The ultimate goal is to make sure I pitch, so we’ll see how it goes the first sprint out and then, after that, I’m sure I’ll be full bore.”