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Glover dealing with right shoulder soreness

Nats taking cautious approach with young reliever
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- After an encouraging winter filled with throwing and excitement about the strength of his arm, Koda Glover showed up to Nationals camp with soreness in his right shoulder. He received an MRI, which revealed some slight inflammation, causing the Nationals to once again handle him with caution.

Glover had been the only pitcher who had not thrown a bullpen session through the first four days of camp. Even though he is participating in some baseball activities, such as pitchers' fielding practice and taking ground balls, he has not been cleared to throw.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- After an encouraging winter filled with throwing and excitement about the strength of his arm, Koda Glover showed up to Nationals camp with soreness in his right shoulder. He received an MRI, which revealed some slight inflammation, causing the Nationals to once again handle him with caution.

Glover had been the only pitcher who had not thrown a bullpen session through the first four days of camp. Even though he is participating in some baseball activities, such as pitchers' fielding practice and taking ground balls, he has not been cleared to throw.

"We're going to take our time with this one," manager Dave Martinez said. "And make sure he's healthy."

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Glover, 24, missed much of last season with severe inflammation in his rotator cuff. A stiff back caused another separate trip to the disabled list, and he has had trouble remaining healthy in his short big league career. After pitching only 19 1/3 innings in 2017, Glover showed up to the team's WinterFest event in December already throwing and encouraged with how easy it felt. He had planned to begin throwing off a mound in January.

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The Nationals were optimistic about Glover entering camp. If healthy, Glover was slotted to be a major part of the bullpen behind Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler. The club considered Glover a future closer due to a combination of his pitches and his mentality. And the Nats believed he had made it through the offseason healthy and would be without restrictions this spring.

"I know he had some bullpens before he came to camp," Martinez said. "So how much throwing he did, we don't know. But he did tell us he threw some bullpens. And, like I said, when he came in and said that he had soreness, we just backed him down."

Lilliquist impressed with his staff
The Nationals have only been holding workouts for pitchers and catchers for a few days, but new pitching coach Derek Lilliquist is already raving about his staff. Even though he has been around some strong pitching staffs during his time with the Cardinals, where he served as the pitching coach from 2012-17, he thinks this Nationals staff is the best he has been around so early in the spring.

"Getting to watch the big guys personally, up close, it's impressive," Lilliquist said. "The work ethic, what they have -- their stuff, their repertoire, what they're trying to do -- it's impressive. Good group of kids. Probably the best group in terms of staff that I've been a part of at this point in Spring Training."

In order to get to learn his new staff, Lilliquist has held meetings with each pitcher, along with Martinez and bullpen coach Henry Blanco. During the meetings, they discuss a pitcher's strengths, weaknesses and their goals for the spring.

But with such a veteran staff, headlined by two of the top three finishers in the voting for the National League Cy Young Award in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, Lilliquist knows he has the luxury of being able to tinker and provide help when needed.

"They have their routines, and I'm just here to facilitate," Lilliquist said. "I'm here for them. They have everything they need. Go get them. They're veterans. They know what they need."

Quotable
"Max himself is unusual. I'm just glad that he's here. I get to see him pitch every five days. That's awesome. He competes. And when he does his bullpen, he's competing. I don't know who he was facing when he threw 60 pitches, but he was facing hitters. And he was real adamant about getting them out." -- Martinez, on Scherzer's 60-pitch bullpen sessions to begin camp

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Koda Glover