Nate McLouth was scratched from this past Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the New York Mets, and now, according to what Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams told reporters today, his availability for Opening Day is in question.
McLouth, 33, signed a 2-year/$10.75M deal before last season, but he underwent sugery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder last August.
Before Saturday's scratch, he returned to the lineup last week, serving as a DH in two games since he was still working through his throwing program.
As MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported earlier this week, McLouth was able to take batting practice and play catch, but he didn't return to the lineup.
Williams talked last month about taking it slow with McLouth as he worked his way back and following the plan for his rehab.
"Everybody is different, of course," Williams explained, "but we want to make sure, again, that when he's ready to play, he's ready, because we don't want a setback.
"So, that being said, he's going through the progression of all his throwing, he's hitting right now, he doesn't have an issue with that. It's going to get sore, we know it, so there are going to be days where he's going to have to just shut it down for that particular day, which is frustrating because you want to play, but we'll get through Spring Training with him and kind of monitor him on an everyday basis to see where he's at and act accordingly."
According to what Williams said today, McLouth's availability for Opening Day is in jeopardy:
Nate McLouth's availability for opener "in jeopardy," per Matt. Shoulder still bugs him when he throws. Not considered part of long rehab.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 20, 2015
Williams says the chances of Nate McLouth being ready by opening day--"Right now, I'd say it's in jeopardy." #Nats— Craig Heist (@cheistsports) March 20, 2015
Williams provided updates on several other injured Nationals including Anthony Rendon (MCL sprain) and Yunel Escobar (oblique) when he spoke to reporters this morning:
Each must clear hurdles, Matt believes Escobar (oblique) & Rendon (knee) will be ready for opener. Rendon doing weight-bearing exercises.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 20, 2015
Matt Williams says Yunel Escobar could play in a minor league game by Sunday. "need to push the limit a bit to see where he is at."— Craig Heist (@cheistsports) March 20, 2015
Left fielder Jayson Werth, who is recovering from surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder, is scheduled to play defense in a minor league game today, though, as Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes wrote this morning, he, "... will continue to take swings off a tee and against soft toss until his shoulder is strong enough to handle the weight of major league pitching."
Asked how many at bats it would take to be ready for Opening Day, Werth told reporters, "Five?"