Mattheus plays catch, four weeks away

Mattheus plays catch, four weeks away
June 21, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus is approximately four weeks away from returning after breaking his right throwing hand on May 19 in San Diego. Mattheus broke his hand punching a locker at Petco Field after allowing five earned runs in a relief appearance against the Padres.

The nature of his injury has made sitting out that much harder for Mattheus.

"It's probably one of the most frustrating things I've ever dealt with, being a baseball player," he said. 

"I've been on the DL, I've been hurt before, but that kind of stuff was uncontrollable. This was something that was self-inflicted. It was something, it was a stupid decision. It's been tough to swallow, tough to watch as I can't be out with the guys."

Mattheus has been throwing from 60 feet and is set to start throwing long toss soon, before eventually stepping on a mound. After he pitches off a mound he will likely make a minor league rehab assignment.

To strengthen his hand, Mattheus has been stretching it out in buckets of rice. The rice allows him to grip with his fingers and puts less pressure on his hand than the harder surface of a baseball. He has also been doing resistance weight lifting to continue strength conditioning without having to actually grip weights.

"There are no issues with the hand," he said. "I've been pretty surprised with how it's reacted. It hasn't got any stiffness or added soreness or anything like that."

Mattheus has a 4.96 ERA through 14 appearances with the Nationals this season.