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Ivan Rodriguez plans to catch Monday for Class A Potomac

Catcher Ivan Rodriguez took live pitching in the team's indoor batting cage and threw to all bases with no problems during a workout prior to Saturday's game. Rodriguez has been dealing with a lower back strain that has kept him on the 15-day disabled list since May 24. He is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday.

Rodriguez said he expects to play five or six innings for Class A Potomac on Monday and - depending on how that game goes - may catch for the big league club Tuesday during pitcher Stephen Strasburg's highly-anticipated debut.

"Actually I'm feeling pretty good," Rodriguez said. "My back feels great. Still some little tightness in the back, but a lot better than days ago."

Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman said Rodriguez will run the bases and take batting practice in the field prior to Sunday's game against the Reds. Riggleman was less definitive than Rodriguez on when the player will begin his brief rehab assignment, though he acknowledged it "probably" will be Monday night for Potomac.

Riggleman also noted that with a player of Rodriguez's stature - 14 All-Star selections, 13 Gold Gloves, seven Silver Slugger awards, etc. - one minor league game can be the extent of his rehab stint.

"He just needs to show us that he's physically able to do it," Riggleman said. "It's not like he needs to tone up his skills or anything. He just needs to show that physically he can get down there and go in the dugout, come back out and go in the dugout, come back out numerous times and swing the bat a few times, get out of the box running. We would hate to activate him, have a setback and then it's 15 more days."

Rodriguez said his first priority is to regain his health and be able to do all the functions necessary of a major league catcher. But the significance of being able to catch Strasburg's debut was not lost on the 20-year veteran.

"Of course, it's nice for me to catch Tuesday because Stephen is pitching and it's going to be great to have me behind the plate with him, which that is what I'm hoping to happen Tuesday night," Rodriguez said. "As of right now, the way I'm going, Monday's the big day. And if Monday's great, I'll be catching on Tuesday. But if not, Wednesday or Thursday or Friday I'll be playing."

By Steve Yanda  |  June 5, 2010; 5:58 PM ET
Categories:  Ivan Rodriguez  
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Next: Riggleman says Zimmerman not getting credit he deserves just yet

Comments

I am pulling for Pudge to come back healthy asap, but can't help from feeling for Maldonado who has paid his dues in the minors for a long time and then gets his chance in the bigs - probably would be ahead of nieves for tues if pudge can't go- and then gets a fluke injury like a broken finger!

Shows how life can be a series or even a few opportunities - gained or lost. For Maldonado, who isn't a clear MLB talent, the opps are few, and sad that this window will close. Hang in there!

Posted by: mo_dc | June 5, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

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