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03/25/2013 11:42 PM ET

Rodriguez throws scoreless frame against Astros

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- On Sunday, manager Davey Johnson announced that reliever Henry Rodriguez was experiencing right elbow soreness and hoped that he would have a bullpen session by Tuesday.

It turned out that Rodriguez was healthy enough to pitch against the Astros on Monday evening. He started the fifth inning by throwing seven straight balls, but he managed to get out of the frame by striking out two hitters.

"He had me worried again," Johnson said. "But he threw the ball good. He seems a lot better."

Johnson plans to give Rodriguez the day off and have him throw Wednesday against the Braves. Asked if Rodriguez could start the season on the disabled list, Johnson said, "We are not to that point yet. But if he has to get some extra work and he has to go back to back, I might do that. He might pitch [on the Minor League] side."

When he arrived to Spring Training, Rodriguez had right forearm tightness and didn't play in a game until March 8.

If Rodriguez is not ready by Opening Day, it would not come as a surprise to see J.C. Romero make the roster. Romero was recently signed to a Minor League contract and invited to big league camp.

The Nationals are in need of a second left-hander in the bullpen, but general manager Mike Rizzo already said they are willing to go with a predominantly right-handed bullpen.

Young opting out of Minors deal with Nationals

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- After pitching four quality innings in a 6-4 loss to the Astros on Monday night, Nationals right-hander Chris Young announced that he filed the paperwork to opt out of his Minor League contract, which would make him a free agent.

The Nationals have 24 hours to let him know if he is going to make the 25-man roster. The Nationals' rotation is set, and the club and Young have not talked about working out of the bullpen as a long man.

"I'm realistic that the roster is full. I understand they talked about trying to work something out to where I can stay. We are not there right now," Young said. "There is interest from other clubs. I just have to weigh all the options and see what's best for me, my family and career."

Young signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals on Feb. 26 and allowed four runs in 16 innings. Manager Davey Johnson said he took Young out of the game after four innings on Monday because he wanted to see other pitchers like Henry Rodriguez and Craig Stammen. Young didn't have a problem with Johnson's decision.

"He had a great spring for us," Johnson said. "I'm sure he will probably get a job somewhere. The ball is in his court,"

Young reiterated that he loved his brief time with the Nationals.

"This has been just a terrific Spring Training, being around a great group of baseball people," Young said. "There's nothing negative I can say about this place except maybe they have 15 pitchers deep. But aside from that, I would like to work something out, but if not, I understand the circumstances. They have five great starters. I realize there is no spot at this point."

Young is on his way back to Viera, Fla. By Tuesday, he should know which team will acquire his services. If he stays with the Nationals, Young feels he could provide insurance and pitching depth to the club.

"I can help out a Major League team, but I'd also love to help out the Washington Nationals whenever and however that may be," Young said.

Haren set to pitch against Marlins on Tuesday

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Dan Haren will pitch against the Marlins in Jupiter, Fla., on Tuesday afternoon.

Haren had the choice to pitch in a Minor League game at the team's complex, but he felt he would be motivated by pitching against the Marlins. Haren then decided to spend the night in Jupiter on Monday in order to be ready to play the next day.

The last time Haren pitched in Jupiter was March 15, and he allowed five runs in five innings against the Cardinals.

"It was unrealistic just making that long of a drive [to Jupiter], getting out and trying to get your adrenaline up to pitch. It's tough," Haren said. "So I talked to [general manager Mike Rizzo], and he thought the smartest thing to do was to stay back and throw a Minor League game or go to Jupiter the night before. I didn't want to do a Minor League game just because it's hard enough to get your adrenaline up right now. I didn't want the last start before the season [to be] a Minor League game. I thought it was smarter to do a big league game."

In five games this spring, Haren has allowed 13 runs in 19 1/3 innings.

Garcia to see Nationals team doctors in DC

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Right-hander Christian Garcia, who will start the season on the disabled list because of a right forearm tendon injury, will travel with the Nationals back to Washington to see the team's doctors.

While in D.C., Garcia hopes to get the green light to start a throwing program, which would start April 1. The program would take place in Viera, Fla. There is no timetable as to when he will pitch in a Minor League or big league game.

Garcia didn't pitch in a Grapefruit League game after feeling pain in his forearm during the team's first workout in February. He felt the cold weather played a role in his discomfort. Garcia has to rest his arm for at least another week.

Reporter Akra leaves MASN for MLB Network

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Kristina Akra, who served as a sideline reporter covering the Washington Nationals for MASN in 2012, joined MLB Network on Monday.

Akra will appear across MLB Network's studio programming and make her MLB Network debut on "MLB Now" on April 1.

Akra, a popular broadcaster, was best known for getting Gatorade showers after the Nats won a game.

Worth noting

• Reliever Craig Stammen allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings in a 6-4 loss to the Astros. Johnson said it didn't help that Stammen had not pitched since last Thursday. There is nothing wrong with Stammen.

"[Stammen] needed the work. He hasn't pitched in a while," Johnson said.

Stammen didn't give any excuses.

"I was probably a little too fresh. It is what is it is. I should have been a little bit better," Stammen said.

• Reliever J.C. Romero pitched his first game as a member of the Nationals and tossed one shutout inning and struck out one against the Astros.

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.