Nats’ Rodriguez put on 25-man roster

After his team lost to the Yankees, 4-2, at Nationals Park on Friday afternoon, Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced that reliever Henry Rodriguez was put on the 25-man roster, which meant that left-hander J.C.  Romero will start the season with Triple A Syracuse.

Rodriguez pitched one inning in Friday’s game against the Yankees and didn’t allow a run in the sixth inning. He was able to get two quick outs, but then walked Brett Gardner. However, Ichiro Suzuki ended the inning by grounding out to second baseman Danny Espinosa.

“I told you he would come around,” Johnson said about Rodriguez. “He didn’t have much of a spring and [didn’t play Winter Ball].”

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.”

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