Ryan Mattheus to face hitters for first time this spring

Ryan Mattheus. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Ryan Mattheus. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Ryan Mattheus said he will throw live batting practice on Monday, the first time he will face hitters this spring training after resting with inflammation of cartilage in his chest. The right-handed reliever came into camp prepared to win back his spot in the bullpen, but his injury has set him back enough that he could be up against the clock to start the season on the active major league roster.

Mattheus missed two weeks of spring training with a condition called costochondritis and has been building back up his arm strength since.

“I feel great,” he said. “I threw two bullpens and I didn’t throw for two weeks. I didn’t feel like I was set back that far. We weren’t that far along. … I don’t think it affected me overall. I’m not going to have anything lingering from this. It’s out of there. I’m strong. I’ve just got to get the workload under me like a normal spring training.”

Mattheus is optimistic that he can still be ready for when the season starts on March 31, two weeks from now. Excluding Sunday, there are only 10 spring training games and one exhibition game left for Mattheus to build up the needed inning. Late-inning relievers such as Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, for example, are aiming to throw 10 innings this spring.

“I think there is enough time,” he said. “It just all depends on how they approach it. Right now we’re kinda taking the conservative route to have my best interests in mind, making sure I don’t get sore. They don’t want to rush anything and my shoulder gets sore. I’ve gotta do the normal workload as everyone else in spring training. I’ve gotta throw my live BPs. If I react well to those and they can get me in enough games where they think I’m ready, I think I’ll be ready.”

The same schedule applies to Ross Ohlendorf, who has been slowed by back, side and finger injuries this spring. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday.

>>> Doug Fister, who has been recovering from elbow inflammation, is slated to play catch on Sunday And, according to the pitching schedule posted in the clubhouse, he is scheduled to throw about 30 pitches during live batting practice on Monday.

>>> Erik Davis, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list on Feb. 13, will start his rehab soon and expects to throw against next week. When he does throw, Davis will have missed seven weeks with a strained right elbow. Because he will have missed so much time, Davis will have to rebuild his arm strength as it were an offseason. In other words, perhaps the soonest he could be ready is in June.

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.
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James Wagner · March 15

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