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Posted at 12:49 PM ET, 06/16/2012

Ryan Mattheus ‘real close’ to return; Henry Rodriguez to begin rehab soon


(Patrick McDermott - GETTY IMAGES)
Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus will likely appear in one more minor league game as he rehabs from a plantar fasciitis that has kept him on the disabled list since May 22, Manager Davey Johnson said.

Mattheus made his second appearance for Class AA Harrisburg on Friday night, allowing one run, one walk and striking two out in one inning. He also pitched a scoreless inning on Wednesday. On Saturday morning, he was unpacking his bags and reported feeling good.

“He’s real close,” Johnson said. “He’ll probably get one more outing. His foot is coming through it alright, that’s the big thing. His arm is fine. More concerned about that sheath on the foot, is it going to hold up. Looks like it is.”

Another injured reliever, Henry Rodriguez, will likely throw a bullpen session on Sunday and then possibly head off to Class AAA Syracuse to begin his rehab assignment, Johnson said.

Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list on June 7 with a strained right index finger, the some one he slammed into a bathroom door two weeks ago. The time away is also a welcome reprieve for the flamethrowing reliever, who had enjoyed a recent tough stretch that saw him lose the closer’s role because of wildness.

While steady, the Nationals bullpen has been shaken with injuries and players’ roles have been out of whack. The return of Mattheus (2.25 ERA in 20 innings), and eventually Rodriguez, will help stabilize a bullpen that has a setup man closing and long relievers setting up.

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