The “other issues” Manager Davey Johnson had to tend to this morning became evident minutes before first pitch.
The Nationals placed reliever Henry Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right index finger, the same finger he slammed in a bathroom door last week. Brad Lidge will return almost a week earlier than expected from hernia surgery and replace Rodriguez in the bullpen.
Rodriguez, 25, pitched for once after his finger injury, during Tuesday’s nights wild, 12-inning Nationals victory, in which they used every reliever in their bullpen. He allowed a run on a wild pitch.
The time away should also help Rodriguez take a breath and restore his confidence after a rocky stretch that saw him lose his closer’s role to Tyler Clippard. Rodriguez has an 11.37 ERA over his last games, with seven walks in 6 1/3 innings.
Lidge pitched a perfect inning last night for Class A Potomac and struck out two in his second rehab appearance of the week. He posted a 5.14 ERA in seven innings in April.
With Rodriguez on the disabled list, the Nationals will have room to carry both Lidge and rehabbing reliever Ryan Mattheus, who could return from plantar fasciitis in his left foot early next week. The Nationals plan to use an eight-man bullpen.
Rodriguez becomes the 14th player to land on the Nationals' disabled list this season.