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Nats delay Rodriguez's live BP session

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez's scheduled live batting-practice session was pushed back from Thursday, to allow the right-hander to continue to work his way back from surgery before facing hitters.

Manager Davey Johnson had originally said that Rodriguez was going to face Minor Leaguers on Thursday, but the club decided to have Rodriguez throw one more bullpen session to work on his breaking balls.

Rodriguez could stand to fill the last remaining bullpen spot -- likely the only position on the Nationals' roster up for grabs -- if he is healthy by Opening Day.

Rodriguez is out of options, but he is equipped with a live fastball, so the Nationals are keeping a hopeful watch on the right-hander.

"From what I've seen, his flat-ground [throwing] has been outstanding," Johnson said. "He's been throwing long. I think more than anything, it's for him to feel comfortable that the soreness in his elbow that he felt last year is not there. He's always had some winter ball coming in here, so with the surgery and with the pretty long spring, I'm sure when he really feels comfortable, he'll be ready.

"As far as I'm concerned, he's real close."