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Ivan Rodriguez questionable for Stephen Strasburg's debut

Catcher Ivan Rodriguez will play in a minor league rehab game before he returns to the Nationals from the 15-day disabled list, and he may or may not come back in time to catch Stephen Strasburg's first start. Manager Jim Riggleman met with Rodriguez today and informed he would like him to play for five or six innings at Class A Potomac before he comes off the DL.

Rodriguez is eligible to return Tuesday, the day Strasburg makes his first major league start. His work in the coming days will determine how soon he can play at Potomac, and therefore whether he can catch Strasburg's maiden start. Rodriguez could make his rehab start any day from Sunday to Wednesday, Riggleman said.

The Nationals want Rodriguez behind the plate for Strasburg's first start, but they won't sacrifice Rodriguez's long-term effectiveness.

"In a perfect world, just because it's a unique situation here, I'd love to have Pudge here to catch," Riggleman said. "I think it would mean a lot to Pudge. But that's going to be secondary to whether we think he's 100 percent ready to come back yet. We would like to be the case, but we're not going to force it to be the case. If we think another day or two will help, then we'll wait."

Said Rodriguez: "It'd be nice catching him. At the same time, I've got to feel 100 percent to be able to be there. I'm going to take any chances. They're not going to take any chances because he's pitching on Tuesday. I know that I'm going to be catching him the next time out. My job is just to get well fast and try to be ready this weekend."

Rodriguez, 38, has not played since May 22 with lower back stiffness. Rodriguez said he is feeling much better than a week ago. Today, Rodriguez swung a bat and played catch. Tomorrow, he will step up his baseball activities. Rodriguez will face live pitching and make throws to bases as if catching a real game for the first the time since his injury surfaced.

"We're going to see how I feel the next few days here," Rodriguez said. "I think tomorrow is going to be a big day."

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 4, 2010; 6:34 PM ET
Categories:  Ivan Rodriguez , Stephen Strasburg  | Tags: Ivan Rodriguez, Nationals, Stephen Strasburg, disabled list  
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Comments

LOL! For the life of me I can't figure out who Kilgore is talking about:

"Rodriguez, 38, has not played since May 22 with lower back stiffness. Rodriguez said he is feeling much better than a week ago. Today, Rodriguez swung a bat and played catch. Tomorrow, he will step up his baseball activities. Rodriguez will face live pitching..."

Posted by: NatsNut | June 5, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

awful article....... he may or may not come back in time to catch Stephen Strasburg....well that just about covers all of the available options doesn't it !!!!!!!!

Adam - does he think he can play...is he having any physical problems....is it healed or not....

Posted by: outrbnksm | June 5, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

The real question is, when Rodriguez returns, are we keeping Nieves or Maldonado? Neither is much of a hitter, but Maldonado seems (admittedly at first glance) to be the superior defensive catcher.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | June 5, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Pudge has to come back for Strassburg! To have SS see what it's like to pitch to a world class catcher instead of a back up. And at least Maldonado can hit the ball. Nieves sux big time.

Posted by: M20832 | June 5, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Let me be the first, middle and last to say, PLAY MALDONADO if Pudge can't go. Matter of fact, forget Tuesday, play Maldonado tonight, tomorrow and every day that Pudge can't go.
NIEVES STINKS!!! Why was he in the lineup last night? He stinks at the plate. He stinks behind the plate.
Stop playing this bum!!!!

Posted by: dovelevine | June 5, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

IRod's one bad rap is that he calls a bad game. Because he hates breaking balls, he thinks everyone does. Every catcher on the team calls way too many off-speed breaking balls. They are driving Dibble crazy and the coaches are too dumb to see it. They will "curve" Strasburg's arm to death. Mark Prior, here we come.

Posted by: lp_lodestar | June 5, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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