Ryan Mattheus was ecstatic to be back with the Washington Nationals on Friday morning as the team activated from a nearly 10-week stay on the disabled list with a broken right hand. Mattheus, who broke his hand punching a locker in San Diego in May, was added as the Nationals’ extra player for Friday’s scheduled double header against the Mets.
“It was a long time off,” Mattheus said. “It’s tough to sit back and watch the games from that perspective, and it’s just great to know that I can go out there and contribute today. It’s an amazing feeling being back.”
Mattheus is expected to be available in both games of Friday’s doubleheader and his presence was made even more important with the news that Drew Storen was hit with the flu overnight.
Manager Davey Johnson said Storen was “sequestered in the back,” and visiting with the team doctor on Friday morning. It was most likely that he’d be unavailable for the day or, as Johnson put it, “unless he has a dramatic recovery.”
Mattheus’ rehab went seemingly without issue as he worked to build up his arm on a spring training-like throwing scheduled and pitched in six rehab games without incident. He threw two innings for Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday. He said his velocity has been present throughout and he feels good about all of his pitches.
How long the right-hander will stay with the major league team, however, was still unknown. Mattheus was added as the team’s 26th man for Friday but they will have to return to 25 by the end of the evening.
The Nationals plans for Taylor Jordan, who will start on Sunday, and multiple other factors play into the team’s decision on how to handle the roster move.
Because Mattheus is the “extra man,” for Friday, it is likely the Nationals could option him after the game and then call him back up after Jordan’s start on Sunday without having to wait the requisite 10 days for non-injury recalls.
Jordan would then go to the minor leagues and make shorter starts — to save innings — while Ross Ohlendorf would appear the likely candidate to move into the Nationals’ rotation.
Mattheus didn’t spend much time worrying about his fate.
“I’ve sat out for a little over two months, so if it’s one day, I’ll be happy,” Mattheus said. “Obviously I want to be here, but those decisions are 100 percent out of my hands. I’ll be here as long as they want me to, I’m ready to contribute and I’m hungry, so I’m ready to get back out there.”