Ryan Mattheus stood on the mound at Nationals Park Saturday afternoon and threw to a batter for the first time since Aug. 25. With Steve Lombardozzi standing in, and under the watchful eye of pitching coach Steve McCatty, trainer Lee Kuntz, manager Davey Johnson and hitting coach Rick Eckstein, Mattheus threw without pain but also without throwing very many strikes.
“I felt great,” Mattheus said. “I didn’t throw very many strikes, but that’s not the biggest thing right now. The biggest thing is that I felt good and I felt strong.”
Mettheus wouldn’t go so far to say that he didn’t locate well, just that he didn’t feel he was commanding the strike zone the same way he usually does and didn’t feel he was sharp as he could be — both of which he attributed to the layoff. Mattheus has been on the disabled list since Aug. 26.
“He threw the ball fine,” Johnson said. “The velocity is not where it was or where it’s going to be. I’ll probably give him a couple of days off and then when he comes back, I’ll have him on a short leash.”
The plan for Mattheus now is to take two days off and expect to be returned to the active roster when the team arrives in Philadelphia on Tuesday for a doubleheader. Mattheus hopes that he will be able to get into two or three games (at least) before the season ends on Sept. 28. He does not expect the recent shoulder issue to hamper his traditional offseason routine at all.