VIERA, Fla. -- Ryan Mattheus was supposed to be one of the workhorses in the Nationals' bullpen last season, but he broke his right hand in May after punching a locker.
When Mattheus returned, he had a tough time getting hitters out and was eventually sent to the Minor Leagues, but those problems persisted after he rejoined the big league club.
Mattheus calls last season a fluke and regrets that that he wasn't able to help his team during the pennant race. He realizes he has a lot to prove this spring and vows not to have a repeat of 2013. Mattheus wants to go back to being the player who had a 2.85 ERA in 2012.
"I had a little bit of success my first couple of years in the big leagues," Mattheus said. "My routine in the offseason was pretty good. I want to come in with my feet going. Once I hit the ground running, I won't stop. I want to come in ready to compete from day one. I feel I have to make an impression early and continue [impressing] until the end of the season.
"I belong here. I believe last year was a fluke, and I hope to prove that to everybody else."
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.