Evan Vucci/AP


Nationals closer Rafael Soriano underwent a root canal this afternoon, which is something that actually happened and not a joke about the Nationals’ Grapefruit League travel.

Soriano, who earlier this week visited the Dominican Republic for a family matter, will still pitch Friday in Viera against the Tigers, as scheduled.

“I haven’t heard yet if they got all the nerve or not,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “I’ve had a few of those, and they’re not much fun. I just hope he got enough Novocaine so it doesn’t hurt too bad.

“A toothache never hurt anybody, as far as I know,” Johnson added.

After six spring training appearances, Soriano’s spring ERA sits over 11. In his last outing, Soriano allowed the Tigers five runs in 2/3 of an inning on four hits and a walk. Scouts said he lacked movement on his pitches and his velocity was tick below his usual standard, but Johnson had a positive assessment.

“He threw great last time out and got wracked,” Johnson said. “But he’ll be fine. He knows what he needs to do.”

Soriano plans to make eight appearances during the spring, and so should his outing tomorrow be pushed back, it would not greatly affect his schedule.