Ivan Rodriguez could be activated off the disabled tomorrow after catching Stephen Strasburg’s final minor league rehab start tonight in Class AA Harrisburg, but Rodriguez will “probably not” catch for the Nationals Sept. 6 when Strasburg returns to the majors, Manager Davey Johnson said.
Rodriguez has missed nearly two months with a strained right oblique, suffering several setbacks as he attempted to return from the sensitive injury too quickly. Rodriguez will come to Nationals Park tomorrow to be examined by Nationals trainers, and if he has no more complications the Nationals will activate him.
The Nationals would have a third catcher, and therefore a deeper bench, with Rodriguez. It would allow Johnson to pinch-hit with his second catcher and still have one more on the bench in case the starter is injured.
“It would be nice to have him,” Johnson said. “I know he can catch. If can’t hit, I could still use my second catcher to pinch-hit. That would make a big difference.”
Rodriguez wants to catch Strasburg’s anticipated comeback start, but Johnson said he does not believe Rodriguez will be physically up to the task. Last year, the Nationals waited for Rodriguez to come off the disabled list before Strasburg made his debut.
“Pudge doesn’t have to prove anything to me or anybody else in baseball,” Johnson said. “Even if he’s only 70 percent of playing shape, he’ll have the job back there. But that’s something I’m probably not comfortable doing.”
Johnson knows, though, that Rodriguez lobby to for the start.
“He’ll be all over me,” Johnson said. “I’m sure.”