The strained right oblique muscle that forced Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez from the lineup Thursday afternoon may soon land him on the disabled list.
Rodriguez, who felt the muscle tighten during batting practice and was clearly not happy about it, dressed gingerly in the Nationals clubhouse Thursday night following the team’s 10-9 loss to the Cubs. He had iced the area roughly five or six times, he said, and had been given some medication by the Nationals training staff but wasn’t exactly optimistic that he’d be able to play Friday.
“I’ve never experienced this kind of injury,” he said. “It never happens to me. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Day-to-day. If tomorrow’s not better, we need a catcher. But let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Nationals manager Davey Johnson was also not optimistic that the veteran catcher would be able to bounce back so quickly.
“He tried to loosen it up in BP,” Johnson said. “If you guys were out there, he left the cage and started tearing things up and took off his uniform.
“Im concerned. He obviously doesn’t want to be down and he doesn’t want to go on the DL so we’ll just have to see what the doctors say the recovery time is going to be.”
Rodriguez will be reevaluated Friday morning and the Nationals will have to make a decision on whether they feel it’s a disabled list situation. Rodriguez pinch hit Wednesday night so any DL stint would be retroactive to that date and with the All-Star break, he’d be eligible to return to the active roster as soon as July 22. But the oblique is a difficult area and can require a lengthy recovery period.
“It happens,” he said. “It happened during batting practice, and what can you do? These things happen just like this, and it got me today.”
Should the Nationals be forced to put Rodriguez on the disabled list, the most likely candidate for a promotion is catcher Jesus Flores who already had one brief call up to the big leagues earlier this season when the Nationals carried three catchers immediately after Ryan Zimmerman went on the disabled list.
In 56 games with Triple-A Syracuse this season, Flores is hitting .234 with a .252 on-base percentage and .378 slugging. He’s hit five home runs and driven in 30 runs.