It is time for one last chance for Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez. No player on the roster bubble has had more of a roller-coaster ride the last two years. Last season Rodriguez moved his way into a closer's role thanks to injury, performed well for a time and then fell apart spectacularly before succumbing to elbow surgery later in the summer.
So are his noted control problems a result of that injury? The Nats appear willing to test that theory. Rodriguez is again having a good spring training with a 2.45 ERA in four appearances. He has struck out two batters and walked one. Those aren't crazy numbers, and it's a small sample size. But Rodriguez has put himself in the mix for a final bullpen spot again.
That's in large part because Washington appears willing to keep just one left-handed reliever on the roster in Zach Duke. The hope is that Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen -- both right-handed relievers -- can continue to get righties out effectively. It's an unconventional risk but one Rodriguez's powerful arm justifies at the start.
- Brian McNally