Nationals notes: Christian Garcia undergoes MRI for arm tightness

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VIERA, Fla. — Washington Nationals right-hander Christian Garcia is awaiting MRI results on his right wrist and forearm to get some clarity on the tightness he’s been feeling. Garcia, who described the issue as a “tight kind of pull thing” he’s felt when throwing his fastball, seemed confident it was not anything too serious.

“My arm feels gradually better,” he said, his right forearm encased in ice.

Garcia played catch Wednesday before the Nationals sent him for further testing. After going through two Tommy John surgeries and another procedure to remove a bone spur, Garcia is no stranger to arm issues.

But he said the tightness does not concern him too much because of its location.

“As long as it’s not my elbow or shoulder it’s something that, at minimum, we can get it fixed, in a short amount of time, too,” he said.

Manager Davey Johnson was at a loss to figure out what might be ailing Garcia, guessing perhaps it was a bruise or a strain. Until they get the MRI results back they won’t be able to decide a proper treatment plan.

Garcia was also relieved to find out that he did not have appendicitis, as initially feared after dealing with stomach pain the past few days.

“I’d never felt anything like it. It’s definitely a relief it’s not that because I would have had to miss a lot of time if it was,” he said.

Haren amped in live batting practice

There are few mysteries in Nationals camp this spring with so much of the 2013 projected roster returning players. But there are a handful of new guys and no matter how veteran they are, there’s still a natural impulse to want to impress.

After Dan Haren threw live batting practice Thursday, Johnson reminded the 32-year-old that while he understands it’s human nature to want to do well with a new team, he wants him ready for April 1, not the Grapefruit League opener.

“He threw the ball good,” Johnson said. “So good I told him, ‘Take it easy. You don’t have to impress anyone.’”

“That’s easier said than done when [Johnson is] watching and the owner’s watching and the GM is watching,” Haren said.

While Haren came away pleased with how he felt, he said he’d likely “take it a little easier leading up to my first game next week,” and perhaps get an extra day of rest between bullpen sessions. He is slated to start his first spring game Wednesday.

Around the horn

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is expected to take on-field batting practice Friday for the first time this spring. Zimmerman is expected to DH early in spring games as he continues to build strength in his throwing shoulder. … Reliever Henry Rodriguez is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday or Monday for the first time since August elbow surgery, Johnson said. … Catcher Wilson Ramos continues to progress well in his rehab from ACL and meniscus repair in his right knee. Ramos will serve as the DH in the Nationals’ spring home opener Sunday. … The Nats signed right-handed pitcher Chris Young to a minor-league deal Thursday and invited him to spring training. Young has a 53-43 career record. He was 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA with the Mets last season.

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