VIERA, Fla. — Henry Rodriguez is dealing with a sore right elbow, Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Sunday, which could be an indication of some inflammation, possibly from what has been a heavy workload lately.
The plan right now is for Rodriguez to rest Sunday, a day he was originally scheduled to pitch, and see how he feels on Monday. Johnson said he may throw a bullpen on Tuesday if he’s feeling up to it.
“I’ve been wondering when he was going to have a little problem,” Johnson said. “My power pitchers need to pitch more and he’s been on an every-other-day basis… But knowing he didn’t have winter ball and didn’t have a full spring, I was kind of waiting for a tired arm or something normal.”
Rodriguez, who underwent surgery last August to remove a bone chip from his elbow, has struggled with his fastball command of late. Johnson has been using Rodriguez and Drew Storen every other day without fail lately as part of his plans to help his power pitchers prepare for the season.
Johnson said he didn’t “think it’s anything major,” on Sunday, but with Opening Day now a week away, if the issue lingers at all it may change the complexion of the Nationals’ bullpen heading into their trip north.
If Rodriguez must begin the season on the disabled list, it may open the door for the Nationals to carry a second left-handed reliever. Remaining in camp in that category are Fernando Abad and J.C. Romero.
When the Nationals signed Romero on Friday, general manager Mike Rizzo said it was not realistic that Romero would make the Opening Day roster, but an injury has the potential to change that. Romero has not yet thrown in a game for the Nationals, though.