NEW YORK - Ryan Madson rejoined the Nationals today after a week spent with his personal trainer in Phoenix. Whether the veteran reliever will be ready to rejoin the Nationals’ active roster in the next few days depends on how he comes out of a planned bullpen session before Sunday’s game.
Out since August 12, when he served up a walk-off grand slam at Wrigley Field and afterward revealed he had shooting back pain that went down his leg and hindered his ability to pitch, Madson spent the week in Phoenix working with Jay Schroeder, the creator of the EVO UltraFit program who helped the reliever revive his career earlier this decade.
Madson said he threw off a mound into a net nearly every day while there, with Schroeder (who specializes in electric therapy) helping him make adjustments to fine-tune his mechanics and alleviate the back and leg pain.
“I think it was the quickest way and best way to do it without throwing medication in there or covering up, a Band-Aid fix,” the pitcher said. “This is more of a functional fix.”
There’s still no substitute for actual pitching off a bullpen, though, so Madson is scheduled to throw in front of the Nationals coaching and medical staff before Sunday’s game at Citi Field, possibly with some live hitters standing at the plate to better simulate a game situation.
“I want to go out there without (Schroeder) two feet away from me, making adjustments for me,” Madson said. “He dialed me back into the mechanics that I need. Now it’s my turn to do it on my own.”
Because he hasn’t missed significant time, and because as a late-inning reliever it doesn’t take much to build his stamina back up, the Nationals are hopeful Madson could return to active duty based solely off his this one bullpen session.
“Right,” manager Davey Martinez said. “If the ball’s coming out like we know Ryan Madson can throw, then possibly we just give him a day to recover and then see how he feels on Monday.”
Update: The Nationals have never been shut out three games in a row in club history. They’re headed on a dangerous path toward history today. With five innings in the books, they’ve yet to cross the plate against Zack Wheeler. Even though they’ve produced four hits and three walks. It hasn’t mattered. They’re 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position so far. The good news: Tanner Roark also has posted five straight zeroes to continue his resurgence and keep this game scoreless as they head to the sixth.
Update II: The deadlock has been broken. By the Mets. Amed Rosario drove an 0-2 fastball from Roark over the wall in left-center with out in the sixth, giving New York its first run of the afternoon. The Nats lineup? It still hasn’t scored, despite more opportunities. The scoreless streak is up to 24 innings, with Washington now trailing 1-0 heading to the seventh.
Update III: Make it 2-0 New York, on another solo home run. This time it was Todd Frazier off Wander Suero, who entered to pitch the bottom of the seventh. Two runs shouldn’t feel like much of a deficit, but right now for the Nationals it feels like an impossible task.