Strasburg to start opening day
JUPITER, Fla. -- Though Christian Garcia's chances of making the Nationals' Opening Day roster already looked unrealistic because of a sprained wrist, Nationals manager Davey Johnson quashed any last-ditch hopes for the right-hander today.
"No possibility," Johnson said when asked if there was still a chance Garcia could come north with the club as a reliever.
Garcia hasn't appeared in any games this spring after experiencing soreness in his right wrist and lower forearm early in camp. He's been diagnosed with a sprained tendon and is scheduled to be examined by a specialist in Baltimore on Sunday.
Even if he's given the green light to resume throwing, Garcia won't have enough time to get his arm back into shape before the season opens April 1. Johnson said he'll almost certainly spend time on the disabled list and remain at extended spring training in Viera while rehabbing the arm.
"We'll probably keep him down here once he starts throwing, see where he's at," the manager said.
The Nationals were hoping to stretch Garcia out this spring, giving him a chance to start at Class AAA Syracuse and potentially serve as a fill-in starter should someone from their rotation get hurt. The club still plans to try him as a starter, though the timetable will obviously be delayed.
Garcia's injury further clarifies the one true roster battle in camp this spring: the final spot in the Nationals' bullpen. With Garcia hurt and lefty Bill Bray already demoted to minor-league camp, the job will be Henry Rodriguez's if the right-hander can remain healthy.