PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals will place reliever Ryan Mattheus on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot and activate right-hander Chien-Ming Wang from the DL before tonight's game against the Phillies, according to a club source.
Wang will be available to pitch out of the bullpen tonight, though he'd likely be able to throw only one inning three days after a 5 2/3-inning rehab start for Class AAA Syracuse.
Mattheus left the club this morning to visit a foot specialist in Baltimore after aggravating the condition, which he said had been bothering him for several weeks. Even if the injury requires surgery, the reliever said he's been told he could return in only two weeks.
The Nationals intended for Wang to make one more minor-league rehab start before activating him off the DL. Out since mid-March with a hamstring injury, the veteran was allowed to remain on his 30-day rehab assignment until Sunday.
Wang, though, was already scheduled to be at Citizens Bank Park today to throw a bullpen session in front of coaches. Rather than send him back to Syracuse for another start, he'll remain with the big-league club and take over an unfamiliar role as a reliever.
The 32-year-old has only five games of bullpen experience in his career, and he seems an unlikely fit because of the extended time he needs to warm up before entering a game. But Wang said last week he would be open to the idea, and manager Davey Johnson subsequently said he planned to use the Taiwanese hurler as a long reliever, not wanting to move anyone out of what has been the majors' best rotation so far this season.