Nats' Garcia 'ready to go back in there'

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Christian Garcia said his right forearm is pain free and he is scheduled to play catch on Sunday. He still doesn't know when he will play in an exhibition game.

Garcia, the Nats' No. 15 prospect, has yet to play in an exhibition game because of ligament damage inside the forearm, but manager Davey Johnson expects him to be ready for Opening Day. Garcia more than likely will be one of the relievers in the bullpen.

"I feel great, I feel positive. I've felt positive the whole time," Garcia said. "I knew it would go away. I finally don't feel anything. I'm ready to go back in there."

Before playing catch, Garcia is exercising his arm in a bucket of rice, according to Johnson. It's the same technique made famous by Hall of Famer Steve Carlton.

"He can [exercise his arm], but he can't throw yet," Johnson said about Garcia. "But I know he is champing at the bit. I know the [medical people] are being real cautious with him. They are making sure that things completely heal before he starts throwing. Hopefully, it will be before the week is out. "

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.