KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez, held out of yesterday's game due to elbow soreness, is scheduled to pitch tonight against the Astros, manager Davey Johnson said.
Rodriguez met with Johnson yesterday and told his manager the elbow soreness he'd been feeling wasn't a product of pitching, but rather stretching in the trainer's room.
"It doesn't bother him to throw, it just bothers him stretching," Johnson said. "They do a lot of stuff in there when they're stretching, so he's sore. Every time I go in there, they stretch me and I'm sore. I computed that in, and he says he's fine."
After surgery last summer to remove bone chips from his right elbow, Rodriguez still lags behind the rest of the Nationals' relief corps. He was held back early in camp but has ramped up his work recently and appeared in five games in nine days from March 14-22.
Overall, the erratic right-hander has pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on two hits, seven walks and two hit batters.
Johnson said he'd like to get Rodriguez into three of the Nationals' remaining five exhibition games before Opening Day.
"He missed half the season and then missed winter ball," the manager said. "A lot of that is just catch-up. And a power arm, it takes a lot longer to get to where you've built up what I call a base, so you feel like you can throw maximum speed without maximum effort. A lot of times it takes all of spring for them get there, and consequently their command suffers. But I think he's a lot closer."