WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Koda Glover’s attempt to make the opening day roster after an injury-plagued 2017 season has already hit a snag.
Glover has not thrown since reporting to Nationals camp, informing club officials when he arrived that he had been experiencing shoulder soreness following the bullpen sessions he was throwing on his own at home this winter.
The Nationals had Glover undergo an MRI of his shoulder, which was injured much of last season, and found only inflammation. For now, he’s restricted from throwing but is participating in other drills alongside his fellow pitchers.
“He’s not going to throw,” manager Davey Martinez said. “We’re going to take our time with this one and make sure he’s healthy.”
Glover, 24, has been touted for two years now as a potential bullpen cornerstone for the long term but has been unable to keep himself on the field. Though he officially went on the disabled list early last season with lower back stiffness, he later admitted to the Nationals he also had been dealing with a sore shoulder. The right-hander described his diagnosis last June as “severe inflammation of the rotator cuff and two strains.” He did not appear in any games after June 10.
Nationals officials have instructed Glover to be more forthcoming with his physical ailments - he also waited to tell them about a hip injury late in 2016 - and it appears he did inform them about this shoulder issue in a timely manner, rather than waiting for the condition to worsen.
“We’re better with him on the field, obviously, but we need him to be 100 percent,” Martinez said. “So I’m glad that he communicated that with us. We’ve just got to slow him down. We told him we want him to be 100 percent before you go out there and start throwing your bullpens again. He’s doing everything else with the team. He’s getting his ground balls, PFPs in. He’s doing everything. We’re just going to give it some time.”
After losing Matt Albers to the Brewers in free agency this winter, the Nationals are counting on either Glover or Shawn Kelley (or, ideally, both) to return strong after being plagued by injuries last season and provide more right-handed depth to their bullpen. So far, Kelley (who received a stem cell injection in October to help alleviate the pain from bone chips in his elbow) has been healthy this spring and participated fully in all throwing drills.