Nationals Injury Updates: Ryan Mattheus Has MRI, Tyler Clippard Returns To Mound

Rob Carr

Ryan Mattheus went for an MRI today after an issue in his chest kept him out of action. Tyler Clippard returned to the mound today after sitting with back tightness. Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams updated reporters on his relievers...

According to reports out of the Washington Nationals' Spring Training facilities this morning, including this one by NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman, right-handed reliever Ryan Mattheus had an MRI scheduled today after suffering an as-yet undiagnosed issue (pull) in his upper right chest while jogging after a bullpen session last week. Mattheus has been sidelined since the issue came up. Here's what Mattheus told reporters:

"'It’s weird. It’s some sort of rib injury. It really doesn’t bother me with everyday activities, but when I cough or sneeze, then I want to drop to my knees. It’s really painful.'"

Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore wrote on Twitter that the 30-year-old right-hander, who missed significant time with a self-inflicted broken bone in his right hand last season, could miss 1-2 weeks with the latest injury. Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters this afternoon that the Nationals were still waiting on the results of the MRI.

"It's an interesting spot. It's kind of chest, front, which is odd. So we're going to have to find out exactly what it is..." - Matt Williams on Ryan Mattheus' chest injury

"There's no results yet," Williams said, "so we'll find those out as soon as we get them. But he had that and we'll see what comes up, but no word yet."

The injury, Williams explained, is an odd one. "It's an interesting spot. It's kind of chest, front, which is odd," Williams said. "So we're going to have to find out exactly what it is and then take the steps accordingly to get it taken care of, but at this point we just don't know. We have to have the [doctor] read the results and see what we've got. So we'll kind of play that one by ear, but hopefully it's just a couple of weeks and he can get back at it, but we don't know. We'll get the results I'm sure later today or this evening."

While Mattheus might miss some time over the next few weeks, 29-year-old set-up man Tyler Clippard is just getting going again after dealing with tightness in his back. The Nationals' manager watched Clippard's first bullpen session in a week today and said the veteran reliever looked strong.

"Looked great. He was good. All of his pitches. Extended bullpen. He was good," Williams said.

And falling behind a little early is not such a big deal for a reliever.

"We don't want to build them too much early," he explained. "We want them ready for Opening Day, so generally they get going a little bit later than everybody else. Their innings are down, as compared to guys that are certainly starters, guys that are multiple innings guys, so we look at it and say, 'How many appearances are we going to need?' Give ourselves a little time pre and post in case we have to do another one, but he's fine. He's right on track I think."

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