VIERA, Fla. -- It looks like the final roster decision the Nationals must make before Opening Day -- Henry Rodriguez or J.C. Romero in their bullpen? -- will go right down to the wire.
Manager Davey Johnson again was noncommittal when talking about the two relievers this morning before the Nationals' final game in Florida, saying only that Romero will come north with the club for tomorrow's exhibition game against the Yankees but leaving the door open where the left-hander will go from there.
"J.C. Romero is going to go with us to D.C.," Johnson said. "And barring anything -- an injury or anything -- he'll go from there to Syracuse."
That injury could be to Rodriguez, who is returning from elbow surgery and complained of soreness earlier this week. The right-hander is scheduled to pitch tomorrow against New York. If he emerges healthy, he will make the roster. If not, he would start the season on the disabled list and Romero would make the club.
Asked if it's possible Rodriguez needs more time to get his arm back in shape, Johnson replied: "Yeah, that's where we're at. But I think he's closer, he's making progress. I mean, even with his wildness, his numbers are still pretty good compared to everybody else."
Rodriguez has allowed 15 batters to reach base (three hits, 10 walks, two hit batters) in 8 2/3 innings.