WASHINGTON -- Ivan Rodriguez keeps hearing the advice that he needs to slow down and let his strained right oblique heal, and it continues to frustrate him.
Rodriguez landed on the disabled list July 8 after feeling the strain taking batting practice the day before, and has suffered a setback every time he attempted to swing since. He played catch with Livan Hernandez before Tuesday's game against the Reds and felt fine, and anticipates throwing the next few days before attempting to swing a bat again.
"It's hard because I want to play," Rodriguez said. "That's what I love to do -- play baseball -- and it's tough to not be able to. But that's baseball, and injuries are part of it. I've played for a long time, so that's part of baseball. I know Davey [Johnson] will tell me to relax, but that's not me. I've played through pain before."
Rodriguez spent the end of Washington's nine-game road trip at an empty Nationals Park. Each day away from his teammates made it all the more frustrating for Rodriguez, who played less than 100 games only three times through the first 20 years of his career.
The catcher appeared in 39 games as the backup before landing on the disabled list, and he hit .214 with 19 RBIs while throwing out 11 of 23 potential basestealers.
"He doesn't have anything to prove," Johnson said. "It's not like he's trying to make a ballclub. There's no real rush, but he's going to push it anyway."