Nationals Manager Davey Johnson expressed pessimism about the chances of an imminent return from the disabled list for catcher Ivan Rodriguez, even as a report surfaced that Rodriguez is Harrisburg working out with the Nationals’ Class AA affiliate.
General Manager Mike Rizzo said Rodriguez’s status has not changed since he received an epidural shot in his strained right oblique over the weekend, and he is “still not comfortable enough to swing” a bat.
Johnson said Rodriguez “will be down for a while” and did not dismiss the idea of Rodriguez missing the remainder of the season.
“He’s not doing too well,” Johnson said. “He’s pushing it too hard. He’s had another setback. He just needs to take it easy and let it heal. … That’s an injury you just can’t push, and I told him in Houston, you have that relax. But you know Pudge. He’s in great shape and he wants to play. I knew that was going to be a problem. That’s why I didn’t want him to go home, because I knew there’d be no one sitting on him.”
Asked if Rodriguez could miss the rest of the year, Johnson did not give a definitive response.
“I know he had a shot,” Johnson said. “I know Pudge’s reaction to it – ‘Oh, in a couple days, I’ll be able to swing.’ I’m sure that’s what he did. He tried to let it loose, thinking it was cured. But those injuries take a while.”
Meanwhile the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported Rodriguez is currently with Class AA Harrisburg and cited a source saying Rodriguez could play in a rehab game during their current homestand, which lasts through Sunday. A Nationals spokesman said Rodriguez was in Harrisburg, but did not participate in a workout and will return home to Washington on Thursday morning.
There are some conflicting details here, but the clear message seems to be that Rodriguez will remain on the disabled list for an extended period of time.
The timing of Rodriguez’s return, and the at-bats he loses as he heals, could affect his chase to become the first catcher with 3,000 career hits. Rodriguez is only 158 away from the milestone, but this year he has just 25 hits.