On the disabled list with lumbar nerve irritation since Aug. 14, Madson arrived in New York on Friday night after spending the previous week with his trainer Jay Schroeder in Arizona. He reported to Citi Field on Saturday encouraged and is slated to throw a bullpen Sunday. If that goes well, he’ll probably come off the disabled list Tuesday in Philadelphia after a day off.
“I feel great. I’m excited. I’m moving really well,” Madson said. “Last week, I really worked hard throwing a lot of pitches into a net full-speed with no problems during those pitches.”
The 37-year-old right-hander said he threw every day off a mound into a net with Schroeder, who he credits for salvaging his career, controlling the electrotherapy machine Madson regularly uses. He emerged with typical arm soreness; the back pain that was running down his leg had dissipated.
“I think it was the quickest way and best way to do it without throwing medication in there or covering up, a Band-Aid fix,” Madson said. “This is more of a functional fix.”
Madson’s stint on the disabled list was his second this season. A pectoral strain forced the first one. He also dealt with more-than-usual arm soreness from a heavy workload in mid-April, which required nearly a week off to recover from. Manager Dave Martinez said the health issues will compel him to increase communication with the veteran.
“This is a situation now where I really got to hone in and really bring him in and actually say, ‘Hey, honestly, where are you at?’ ” Martinez said. “Because he’s a competitor. He wants to pitch. But we got to be really careful. And we need him, especially the back end of the bullpen. He’s important, but I want him to be healthy. So I’m going to ask him, too, if it’s an every-other-day thing to keep you healthy and out there on the field, that’s what we’ll do. We got enough guys in there that can do the job.”
Madson will return to a bullpen that could use a lift as Doolittle works through a slow recovery from a left foot injury. He’ll slide back into the eighth-inning role with Kelvin Herrera as the closer after he spent some time in that role before going on the DL, which occurred two days after he surrendered a walk-off grand slam in Chicago. When he does return, the Nationals hope he’ll stick around. Madson is confident he will. Sunday is the big test.
Read more on the Nationals: