Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Rafael Soriano fields a comebacker during Saturday's workout.
The end result might not have wowed onlookers who were hearing loud thwacks every time Jordan Zimmermann, Dan Haren and Tyler Clippard's pitches were caught. But Soriano wasn't trying to match those teammates or blow away anybody watching him throw.
"He's a veteran guy and knows how to get himself ready," said general manager Mike Rizzo, who watched everybody pitch from behind the row of catchers. "He's just getting the kinks out today and getting some touch-and-feel, command stuff. Just getting the arm loose for the first time."
Soriano, whose arrival at Nationals camp was delayed four days by a visa issue in his native Dominican Republic, has a little bit of catching up to do but would have paced himself even had he reported on time.
The 33-year-old reliever told manager Davey Johnson he needs only 8-to-10 innings of work this spring and needs to pitch on back-to-back days only once before Opening Day. He's not even scheduled to appear on the mound during the first week of Grapefruit League games.
"He knows what he needs to do," Johnson said.
What Soriano's bullpen session lacked in velocity was made up with precision. Catcher Kurt Suzuki emerged impressed with what he saw out of the veteran closer.
"The ball was coming out of his hand nice," Suzuki said. "Even though he was going easy, his slider had some good life to it. I wasn't expecting him to do more than that."