KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- On Sunday, manager Davey Johnson announced that reliever Henry Rodriguez was experiencing right elbow soreness and hoped that he would have a bullpen session by Tuesday.
It turned out that Rodriguez was healthy enough to pitch against the Astros on Monday evening. He started the fifth inning by throwing seven straight balls, but he managed to get out of the frame by striking out two hitters.
"He had me worried again," Johnson said. "But he threw the ball good. He seems a lot better."
Johnson plans to give Rodriguez the day off and have him throw Wednesday against the Braves. Asked if Rodriguez could start the season on the disabled list, Johnson said, "We are not to that point yet. But if he has to get some extra work and he has to go back to back, I might do that. He might pitch [on the Minor League] side."
When he arrived to Spring Training, Rodriguez had right forearm tightness and didn't play in a game until March 8.
If Rodriguez is not ready by Opening Day, it would not come as a surprise to see J.C. Romero make the roster. Romero was recently signed to a Minor League contract and invited to big league camp.
The Nationals are in need of a second left-hander in the bullpen, but general manager Mike Rizzo already said they are willing to go with a predominantly right-handed bullpen.
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.