Catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who has been out since May 23 with a strained lower back, is still on track to return sometime next week, manager Jim Riggleman said. But that's not the main issue.
The issue is whether the future Hall of Famer will be back in time to catch Stephen Strasburg's big league debut on June 8. That's the first day Rodriguez would be eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list in time for that game; but Riggleman said it's possible Rodriguez will go on a rehab stint for a couple days, and it's still somewhat undecided whether he'd be able to do that this weekend and return for Tuesday.
"We would like for him to catch a game, probably in (Single-A) Potomac, before he catches here," Riggleman said. "He might not do that until Tuesday, or even Wednesday. But if he was able to do that on Sunday or Monday, it's possible he would be back here for Tuesday."
Riggleman said "it would mean a lot to Pudge" to be back for Strasburg's debut, and the Nationals undoubtedly would like to have the future Hall of Famer there to shepherd Strasburg through the attention crush that's already building for Tuesday. But that will be secondary to the 38-year-old's health, Riggleman said.
"If there's any doubt at all that maybe another day or two would help, then we'll wait," Riggleman said.