ATLANTA -- Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez, on the disabled list because of a strained right oblique, said he is feeling much better. During the club's workout on Thursday, Rodriguez had a long-toss session with infielder Alex Cora without any problems.
Rodriguez is planning to hit off a tee Friday. If things go well, Rodriguez will then try to take batting practice the next day.
"I'm doing fine. Today, pain free, no pain. I didn't feel anything, so that's good," Rodriguez said.
Werth focused on putting struggles behind him
ATLANTA -- Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth had a first half that he would like to forget, hitting .215 with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs.
After participating Thursday in the team's first workout after the All-Star break, Werth said he is determined to be productive starting Friday night when the Nationals play the Braves at Turner Field.
Werth believes he can have a similar comeback to what his ex-teammate Carlos Delgado did in 2002, which was Werth's rookie season with the Blue Jays. Delgado had a subpar first half, hitting .244. After the All-Star break, Delgado hit .330 and ended the season with a .277 batting average with 33 home runs and 108 RBIs.
"I saw at an early age that even the greatest of players go through [slumps]," Werth said. "I knew that he knew what the problem was. It's not always easy to fix it on the fly, especially when bad habits are hard to break.
"Hopefully, I'll get back to what I do best. It's not like it's real far away. I feel like I'm close [to getting out of the slump]. It's been frustrating."
Like he did during the first half, Werth plans to play hard every inning.
"A smart guy told me that only thing you can control is your effort and your intent," he said. "I'm going to hustle every day and I have good intentions. ... I'm aware [I'm not having a good season]. But once I get hot, I'll throw the team on my shoulders during the second half. I have no problem doing that. I want to be that guy. I want the ball. Do I get frustrated? Yeah, because I want to win. I want to be good, I want to be the best player that I can be. When you are not, I think it's pretty easy to get frustrated."
Manager Davey Johnson will continue to hit Werth sixth in the lineup until his bat starts warming up. Johnson believes Werth is a No. 5 hitter. For now, Michael Morse and Laynce Nix will hit in the middle of the order behind Ryan Zimmerman.
"I like [Werth] in the five-hole. When he starts warming up, which I know he will do in the second half, I'll put him back in the five-hole, "Johnson said.
The Nationals have agreed to terms with four players selected in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft: Pitchers Taylor Hill, Greg Holt, Dixon Anderson and Nicholas Lee.
The Nationals granted left-hander J.C. Romero his unconditional release on Thursday. Romero allowed a run in seven innings for Triple-A Syracuse after signing with the Nationals. Later that day, he signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees. ESPN.com was the first to report that Romero signed with New York.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.