Rodriguez, 39, has been on the disabled list since July 8, the day after he suffered an oblique during batting practice. He spent a week with his own trainer in Miami, where he lives. Rodriguez hoped to heal quickly, but an oblique strain is perhaps the most annoying, frustrating injury that can befall a baseball player.
“I know how anxious Pudge is to get back,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “I’m sure he’s been pushing it, and I’m sure he aggravated it by pushing it.”
The takeaway for the Nationals is that Jesus Flores will continue to serve as Wilson Ramos’s backup longer than expected. While adjusting to the role, Flores has gone 5 for 29 with a walk and a double since the Nationals recalled him from Class AAA Syracuse. After opponents stole successfully in their first seven tries against him, Flores has thrown out three of the past four runners who tried to steal against him.
The setback also diminishes the chances the Nationals will trade Rodriguez during the August waiver trading period. General Manager Mike Rizzo said the Nationals received several calls from contenders interested in acquiring Rodriguez, and many teams, most notably the San Francisco Giants, have a need for a second catcher.
The takeaway for Rodriguez could be more significant. Rodriguez is 158 hits away from becoming the first catcher in major league history to reach 3,000 hits, and time is not on his side. Rodriguez had 25 hits in 117 at-bats this year, and any sustained time missed will make him harder to reach a milestone he cares deeply about.
Rodriguez is in the final year of a two-year, $6 million contact with the Nationals.