Nats need to make one more roster move
The Nationals currently have 26 players on the Spring Training roster, and manager Davey Johnson said the final cut will come after the team’s game against the Yankees at Nationals Park on Friday afternoon.
The Nationals have to make a decision between right-hander Henry Rodriguez and lefty J.C. Romero. Rodriguez is expected to pitch on Friday, and this outing could determine if he makes the team. He could also land on the disabled list to start the season.
Earlier this week, Johnson announced that Rodriguez was experiencing right elbow soreness, but Rodriguez was back on the mound on Monday and Wednesday and pitched a combined two shutout innings. He struck out three batters and walked three others. According to Johnson, Rodriguez’s fastball was clocked as high as 98 mph.
Rodriguez missed the postseason last year after having bone spurs removed from his right elbow. This spring, Rodriguez didn’t play in his first Grapefruit League game until March 8 because of forearm tightness.
“He is still a great talent,” Johnson said. “I’m not anywhere close to giving up on Henry. It was probably the first time in his life that he had his arm operated on. Also, he didn’t pitch half of last year and didn’t have any winter ball. We couldn’t get him on the mound [this spring] because of medical restrictions. He has not been afforded the opportunity like everybody else in the bullpen. He has had a short spring.”
If Romero makes the club, he will be one of two lefties out of the bullpen. He was signed to a Minor League deal last Friday, and he looks like he is in midseason form after pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. He has pitched two shutout innings for Washington.
If Romero doesn’t make the team, he will start the season for Triple-A Syracuse.