Rafael Soriano and his workload


Evan Vucci/AP

Rafael Soriano warmed up with one out in the ninth inning of Friday’s 7-3 win over the Chicago Cubs. Manager Davey Johnson called down to the bullpen when Craig Stammen walked a batter and allowed a double with one out. If one more batter reached, the Cubs would have the game-tying run at the plate and Johnson would have turned to Soriano.

It would have been the third straight day Soriano appeared in a game. Nonetheless, it was another day of getting loose in the bullpen. He has appeared in six of the past eight Nationals games, a toll not as heavy as it sounds because of Monday’s day off and Tuesday’s rainout. But Johnson checked with Soriano on Saturday morning to make sure he felt fine. Soriano told Johnson he was available.

“I know he’s a veteran enough guy. He ain’t going to be throwing until it comes down to” appearing in the game, Johnson said.

Early this season, Johnson has been learning the limits of his new closer. Soriano has appeared in 16 games, the most of any Nationals pitcher, and thrown 16 innings. He has saved 12 of the Nationals’ 20 wins, and is tied for second in the National League in saves.

Soriano said the most consecutive days he has ever thrown in his career is four. He is willing to do it if needed but admitted that three straight days is a reasonable limit. What helps is that when he warms up in the bullpen he doesn’t throw much or hard. He prefers playing catch and stretching, saving his full force for the game.

He has told Johnson only once that he needed a day off, after saving all three games in series against the Chicago White Sox in early April.

“It all depends on how I feel,” Soriano said. “If I feel good, I keep pitching. If I need a day or two days, I’ll say something. In Atlanta, I threw four days in a row once. I think in New York or Tampa, the same thing happened. I’ve felt good. Everything feels good.”

“If I need a day, I’ll say something,” he said. “If not, I want the ball.”

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

sports

nationals-journal

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Next Story
James Wagner · May 11, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.