Floro dealing with tight shoulder, Law explains decision to sign

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Nationals have backed off Dylan Floro’s throwing program after he reported shoulder tightness earlier this week, though the veteran reliever insisted it’s nothing serious and he has continued to play catch each day.

Floro, one of only three free agents to sign a major league deal with the Nats this winter, threw a live batting practice session Sunday but said he felt less than 100 percent the following day and reported it to the club’s medical staff.

“I threw live the other day, and I just didn’t recover the same as usual,” the right-hander said. “With it being early, I decided to just slow down, nitpick whatever’s going on. After that, it’s been getting better and better the last couple days. So, good progress right here.”

Floro has dealt with a similar issue in the past, usually during spring training. That experience allowed him to recognize it early this time and gives him some peace of mind moving forward.

“I dealt with it before, so I have an idea what it is,” he said. “What I know compared to where I was in years before, this is a much better situation than that. I know I’ll be fine.”

As a late-inning reliever, Floro doesn’t typically need a lot of work to prepare for the season. During his seven-year career, he has never made more than nine spring training appearances, leaving him plenty of time still to build his arm back up and be ready for Opening Day.

“When we start ramping it up as we get closer, I don’t need a whole lot,” the 33-year-old said. “I’m not a starter. I’m going to go five innings. I’m just going to go out there, hopefully for three outs, get out of there and pass it on to the next person. I don’t need a crazy amount of innings.”

The Nationals have reason to believe Floro will be back soon enough. They have less certainty about Mason Thompson, who was shut down prior to the start of camp with elbow pain that does have club officials concerned. It will still be several more days before the right-hander is re-evaluated, at which point the team will know if he’s going to miss significant time.

The Nats have signed several experienced relievers to minor league deals in recent weeks, including right-hander Derek Law, who officially joined the club today.

Law, 33, owns a 4.08 ERA in 247 career major league appearances and pitched well last season for the Reds, producing a 3.60 ERA in 55 games. Even so, he wasn’t tendered a contract in November and found himself still unemployed as camps opened across Florida and Arizona.

Law said the Nationals showed interest in him throughout the winter, with assistant general manager for player personnel Mark Scialabba and newly hired pitching strategist (and former Reds reliever) Sean Doolittle calling him several times to talk up the organization. Law ultimately had to choose between minor league offers from the Nats and the Pirates, and though he was tempted to sign with his hometown team in Pittsburgh he ultimately felt Washington offered a better opportunity to make the roster.

“It was kind of a tough decision for me to make,” he said. “Obviously, there’s no guarantee you’re going to make the team. And I was thinking about being in my hometown and pitching in front of everybody. But at the end of the day, the decision was made. It seemed like the Nationals wanted me more. They had a plan for me. I talked to a lot of people from the organization, and just going through the plan, they wanted me here.”

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