Ryan Mattheus entered spring training with the hopes of moving on from a rough 2013 and earning a spot in the Nationals bullpen. Unfortunately for Mattheus, the bullpen is already overcrowded with right-handed arms and he has to compete with several players for what might be just one spot on the opening day roster.
As if that wasn’t enough, Mattheus’ spring training just got a little more complicated. According to MASN’s Dan Kolko, Mattheus has been shut down since Tuesday after feeling discomfort in his chest following a bullpen session.
“There’s a joint in there that connects the cartilage to the sternum. I think I might have irritated the cartilage or an intercostal muscle or messed a rib up or something,” Mattheus told Kolko. “I felt it after my second bullpen. They just kind of shut me down and said, ‘We’ll see how it feels the next couple days,’ and it hasn’t gotten any better. Hurts with deep breathing and things like that. It’s really strange. Something I’ve never experienced before. It’s painful.”
Mattheus is trying to come back from a dismal 2013 season in which he broke his hand after punching his locker in frustration, causing him to miss two months on the disabled list. While it was definitly a rough season for Mattheus, the 30-year-old reliever was determined to put it behind him and focus on making the opening day roster, a task which is substantially harder now that he won’t be on the mound any time soon.
Mattheus is awaiting the results from an MRI which should explain what the problem is and when he can get back on the mound. Until then, all he and the Nationals can do is hope it’s nothing serious.