PHILADELPHIA — Reliever Ryan Mattheus was running Monday in the outfield at Citizens Bank Park when he felt some soreness that had been bothering his left foot for a few weeks flare up. He came in and iced it but the Nationals’ trainers were concerned enough with the aggravation that Mattheus received X-rays in Philadelphia and will see a specialist in Baltimore on Tuesday.
“I don’t know if it’s a sprain, he’s had something bothering him with his plantar fasciitis, but he thinks it’s maybe just something broke up in there,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “It’s been kind of bothering him for two weeks. Hopefully it’s nothing more than that… Hopefully he’ll be available (Tuesday) night.”
If Mattheus, who has a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings this season, requires a disabled list stint, the Nationals are expecting to have Chien-Ming Wang with the team in Philadelphia tomorrow anyway to throw a side session. If necessary, the team could activate Wang to fill Mattheus spot on the roster immediately.
“(Wang) isn’t due to pitch until Thursday,” Johnson said. “It’s not like Chien-Ming will be filling Mattheus’ role. (But) yes, we could do that. We’re going to not do that until we get additional studies on (Mattheus). From the way he was talking, he’ll be fine tomorrow.”
The issue affects Mattheus’ landing foot, though Johnson shot down any speculation that it has affected him on the mound. Mattheus loaded the bases in the ninth inning on Sunday afternoon before getting out of the inning unscathed.
– Veteran right-hander Brad Lidge was with the team in Philadelphia, making throws from roughly 180 feet with trainer Lee Kuntz as he continues to rehab from surgery to repair a sports hernia.
Lidge will throw his first bullpen since May 1 surgery on Wednesday. If all goes well, Lidge will then head to Viera, Fla., to continue his rehab program.
“Then, hopefully, it doesn’t take too long,” Lidge said.
Lidge and the Nationals have targeted June 15 as a possible date for his return, though he’s hopeful he might be able to shave a few days off of that timetable.
Lidge will pitch in Florida and, most likely, on a minor league rehab assignment, before he’s ready to return to the Nationals’ bullpen.
– Left fielder Michael Morse arrived in Viera, Fla., on Monday. Johnson said Morse is expected to begin hitting on Tuesday and progress from there. Morse and the Nationals had targeted June 8 for his return to the active roster but bot parties are optimistic that he could be ready to return as soon as the team’s next homestand, which begins on June 1.