The Washington Times - March 20, 2013, 01:18PM

JUPITER, Fla. — Washington Nationals closer Rafael Soriano will have a procedure done on an infected tooth Thursday and it could force the team to tweak the closer’s previously-planned schedule a bit.

“We’ll play it by tooth,” manager Davey Johnson said Wednesday morning before the Nationals game against the Marlins. 


Soriano, who traveled home to the Dominican Republic on the Nationals’ off-day to visit with his family, has an infection in a wisdom tooth. He was expected back in Nationals camp on Wednesday and, according to a source familiar with the situation, will have the procedure in the U.S. on Thursday.

The Nationals wanted to get the problem taken care of as quickly as possible. According to the National Institutes of Health, a severe dental issue can actually affect a person’s shoulder with pain running down the neck and arm. 

“He could need to have a root canal or something,” Johnson said. “He hasn’t complained of anything, but that’s something you always look at because if they have an impacted molar or something, it can lead to an infection and that can be a problem for your shoulder.

“We just want to get it fixed now, rather than wait.”

Soriano endured his roughest outing of the spring on Monday afternoon, allowing four hits, a walk and five runs in 2/3 of an inning. After the game Johnson said he felt it was perhaps the best he’s seen his closer look, despite the results. 

When Soriano arrived at Nationals camp this spring, he told Johnson that he needed about 8-10 innings of work in the spring and he liked to go back-to-back once before the season began. He’s appeared in five games already. With nine games remaining, there should still be plenty of time for him to reach those checkpoints.