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Injuries derailing Mattheus, Ohlendorf's opening plans

Injuries derailing Mattheus, Ohlendorf's opening plans

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals relievers Ryan Mattheus and Ross Ohlendorf both are making progress in their return from injuries, but their recoveries might not come along fast enough to get them ready for Opening Day.

Mattheus hasn't pitched in a game this spring, due to inflammation of the cartilage connecting the ribs and sternum. He did throw a bullpen session on Friday, and manager Matt Williams said Saturday that Mattheus should see game action in the next two or three days.

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"He's set back, and it is what it is, so we'll have to evaluate that as we narrow down and are going to select the club," Williams said of Mattheus, who is competing for a bullpen spot, along with Ohlendorf. "But he's certainly behind the eight-ball in that regard, because he needs to build himself up and get himself going. It doesn't mean that he's not gonna break with us, but we have to evaluate that as we get closer."

Ohlendorf hasn't pitched since suffering back spasms in his spring debut on March 6 against the Braves. Williams was not certain when Ohlendorf will pitch in a game, but said it likely will be late this coming week.

One pitcher who has been healthy is fellow right-hander Tanner Roark, who is a fifth-starter candidate but also enjoyed success coming out of the bullpen last season. He could end up there to begin 2014.

"His versatility within the pitching staff helps," Williams said. "He can start, he can relieve, he's done them both, so that's nothing but a positive for him and his chances to break with the club."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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