Nationals' Henry Rodriguez not ready to flame out yet

Cheers and Jeers,Sports,MLB,Nationals,Brian McNally

It is time for one last chance for Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez. No player on the roster bubble has had more of a roller-coaster ride the last two years. Last season Rodriguez moved his way into a closer's role thanks to injury, performed well for a time and then fell apart spectacularly before succumbing to elbow surgery later in the summer.

So are his noted control problems a result of that injury? The Nats appear willing to test that theory. Rodriguez is again having a good spring training with a 2.45 ERA in four appearances. He has struck out two batters and walked one. Those aren't crazy numbers, and it's a small sample size. But Rodriguez has put himself in the mix for a final bullpen spot again.

That's in large part because Washington appears willing to keep just one left-handed reliever on the roster in Zach Duke. The hope is that Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen -- both right-handed relievers -- can continue to get righties out effectively. It's an unconventional risk but one Rodriguez's powerful arm justifies at the start.

- Brian McNally

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