Ryan Mattheus plays catch, four weeks away from return; updates on Roger Bernadina, Chad Tracy

June 20, 2013

Pitcher Ryan Mattheus (Associated Press)

Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus hit a milestone today as he continues his recovery from a broken hand. The bone has healed, he said, and he played catch for the first time since the injury, throwing from 60 feet. “It felt good,” he said.

Mattheus, who has been out since May 19, will need another four weeks to rebuild his arm strength and let the bone calcify completely before he can return to the Nationals’ bullpen. Mattheus has a 4.96 ERA in 16 1/3 innings this year.

The time off has slowly allowed Mattheus to make peace with how he landed on the disabled list. In San Diego, he allowed five earned runs in one inning. When he came off the field, he punched his locker with his throwing hand and broke a bone.

“It’s over with, you know?” Mattheus said. “It was definitely not my proudest moment. It’s definitely never going to happen again. But it’s just a bummer. It kind of took a while to swallow, especially watching the guys play, and I’m staying back here. It’s kind of tough to swallow. The hardest part is knowing I did it myself. I’ve been on the DL before, it was something I couldn’t control. This, I could control. It’s kind of humiliating a little bit, but definitely I learned from this.”

Enough time has passed, too, for Mattheus’s teammates to rag on him. “I’ve definitely heard a few things here and there about it,” Mattheus said. Nationals rehab coordinator Steve Gober delivered the most memorable line.

“Gober told me he’s going to sit me in a room full of Gatorade coolers and lockers and put up a linescore that I gave up five runs, see if I can’t touch anything,” Mattheus said.

>>> Chad Tracy and Roger Bernadina could be available later Thursday after dealing with minor ailments. Tracy, who felt stiffness in his back during long toss before Wednesday’s game, said he felt better on Thursday and was available.

Bernadina, who Manager Davey Johnson wanted to play on Thursday against Rockies starter Roy Oswalt, wasn’t in the starting lineup because of eye allergies that made him unavailable the day before.

Bernadina is 6 for 17 in his career against Oswalt but wasn’t in the starting lineup because of a delay visiting an eye doctor on Thursday. Bernadina couldn’t see enough to even take batting practice on Wednesday, Johnson said.

“I was waiting on him but his eyes were so bad he couldn’t find the doctor’s office,” Johnson said. “He was supposed to be there at 2 but 4 he still hadn’t gotten there.”

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