VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals are confident that Christian Garcia's wrist/forearm strain isn't anything serious, but they're not taking any chances with the promising right-hander.
As a result, Garcia will be held out for the next 10-14 days, according to manager Davey Johnson.
Garcia said today that he's been feeling better in recent days after first experiencing some tightness in his throwing wrist/forearm area when throwing a bullpen session last Sunday. The 27-year-old, who has had three elbow surgeries in his career, including two Tommy John procedures, didn't feel the tightness when throwing off-speed pitches, only on fastballs or when opening his car door.
"The hand doctor said to be on the safe side, he needs more rest," Johnson said. "But Christian's feeling better, and it's going to be on how he feels before he starts to take it up. I think probably 10 days, two weeks to be on the safe side. But it's just going to be totally up to him.
"He felt better today and he doesn't think it's too serious. He's in a good frame of mind. So it's all up to the player."
The Nationals had been planning to stretch Garcia out this spring in an attempt to turn him into a starter, so this injury will slow that process. But even with Garcia needing to sit out for up to two weeks, Johnson isn't concerned that the Nats' plans for the righty will be thrown off.
"Shoot, we've got five weeks," Johnson said. "I'm not worried about it. He was throwing the heck out of the ball. It's just a little bump in the road. Not a big deal."
Johnson also said that Chris Young, the veteran right-hander who signed a minor league deal with the Nats on Thursday, will probably throw two more bullpen sessions and face live hitters once before being ready to pitch in a game.
Young threw in front of Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty on Friday. He'll probably take part in another throwing session today or tomorrow. The plan will then be to slide him into the Nationals' spring rotation, which will have a vacancy once Ross Detwiler leaves to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
"He looked good," Johnson said of Young. "He'll take one of the starter's spots. I guess Det's the first one to leave, so he'll take Det's spot. Hopefully we can get him ready by (March 9)."
Johnson said that Henry Rodriguez will throw a bullpen session today and then will follow the same type of schedule as Young - throw another bullpen session, face live hitters and then be ready to appear in a Grapefruit League game.