The Nationals’ roster figures to undergo a minor overhaul in the coming days. It began this morning when Tyler Moore arrived in the Nationals’ clubhouse. The Nationals pulled Moore from a game at Class AAA Syracuse in the fifth inning last night so he could replace third-string catcher Carlos Maldonado, whom the Nationals placed on the disabled list with back spasms. Moore drove into D.C. at 2 a.m. after completing the 5 ½-hour drive.
As several others are close to returning from the disabled list, Manager Davey Johnson hinted that more moves could be coming. When asked if the imminent returns of Mark DeRosa, Ryan Mattheus and Brad Lidge would have an impact on his plans to move to an eight-man bullpen, Johnson paused for a moment.
“Yes and no,” he said. “There’s other issues that are involved in that. I’ll address that at a later time.
Moore will join the Nationals bench, and he could soon have company in DeRosa, who has been on the disabled list since late April with an oblique strain. DeRosa’s rehab has been complicated, sadly, by the health of his father, who is fighting cancer for the second time.
“Mark’s going a tough time, because his father is very ill,” Johnson said.
But DeRosa is close to returning. He will begin a minor league rehab assignment today, and DeRosa could return by the end of this weekend.
“That’s a thing that is probably going to be lingering a little bit,” Johnson said. “It’s going to depend on, can he play with it without it getting worse? Mark feels he can. For me, as much as experience as he’s got, if he can go a couple days without feeling any aggravation, I’ll activate him.”
Meanwhile, two relievers are close to coming off the disabled list. Lidge made more progress last night by throwing a perfect, two-strikeout inning at Potomac. Mattheus took fielding drills today to test the plantar facsiitis in his left foot, and he passed with “flying colors,” Johnson said.
Mattheus will throw a simulated game tomorrow, and if all goes well he will pitch for Potomac on Sunday. “He actually said that he feels better pitching on his foot than any time he did in the previous two months,” Johnson said.
The Nationals are finally getting healthier. But how they fit the pieces of their roster together remains to be seen.
“There’s a couple other issues I need to address as soon as you guys get out of here,” Johnson said.
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