Shortly before Thursday afternoon’s series finale against the New York Mets, the Washington Nationals made a handful of roster moves – placing Henry Rodriguez on the 15-day DL and activating Brad Lidge in his place.
Rodriguez initially hurt himself 8 days ago when he slammed his right index finger in a door. He proved to be unavailable out of the bullpen that night, but has pitched since as if there were no injury at all. However, prior to the game it was brought to the attention of Davey Johnson that the team’s training staff had been attending to Rodriguez’s finger once again.
Meanwhile, despite getting roughed up in his first minor league rehab appearance on Monday, there was enough confidence in Lidge’s health that the team was prepared to activate him from the DL. With Rodriguez “hurting”, the team’s decision was a simple one and Johnson had no problem divulging their full intent:
The trainer came to me and said Henry was getting treatment for that finger. Even though I liked the way he threw with the bum finger on Tuesday, I just told Henry: ‘we have the luxury right now’. If this was July or August, we wouldn’t consider it.
Getting Lidge back in the bullpen should provide a boost as his veteran influence had been a welcome addition to the clubhouse during the season’s initial few weeks. While he could find himself in a save situation or two, he likely offers some added depth to the late innings before Tyler Clippard enters the game. It was no secret that the team would face a difficult decision once Lidge was deemed ready to return, but placing Rodriguez on the DL with what is essentially a “phantom injury” was not expected. Perhaps the two weeks off will do the right-hander some good, however, given the struggles he’s faced this year.