2/11/2014 2:48 P.M. ET
Mattheus has something to prove this spring
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
VIERA, Fla. -- Ryan Mattheus was supposed to be one of the workhorses in the Nationals' bullpen last season, but he broke his right hand in May after punching a locker.
When Mattheus returned, he had a tough time getting hitters out and was eventually sent to the Minor Leagues, but those problems persisted after he rejoined the big league club.
Mattheus calls last season a fluke and regrets that that he wasn't able to help his team during the pennant race. He realizes he has a lot to prove this spring and vows not to have a repeat of 2013. Mattheus wants to go back to being the player who had a 2.85 ERA in 2012.
"I had a little bit of success my first couple of years in the big leagues," Mattheus said. "My routine in the offseason was pretty good. I want to come in with my feet going. Once I hit the ground running, I won't stop. I want to come in ready to compete from day one. I feel I have to make an impression early and continue [impressing] until the end of the season.
"I belong here. I believe last year was a fluke, and I hope to prove that to everybody else."
Jordan won't let offseason injury get in his way
VIERA, Fla. -- After working out at the Nationals' team complex on Tuesday morning, right-hander Taylor Jordan revealed that he'd broken his right ankle during the offseason, but that will not stop him from competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. In fact, he had a bullpen session on Tuesday.
"I feel pretty decent right now," said Jordan, who wants to add more muscle to his frame. "I was worried that I wasn't going to have enough time to get into the shape that I wanted to be."
Jordan broke the ankle in a freak accident while coming out of a swimming pool and was in a cast for a month.
"My foot came out from under when I took a step. I sat on it and broke it," he said. "This offseason was the worst one in my life. So it was very hard, considering I had to stay in shape. I had to watch my diet so I didn't lose too much [weight]. Right now, I'm actually a little skinnier than I want to be. I'm strong, but I want more muscle."
Manager Matt Williams said that the team plans to monitor Jordan closely this spring.
"He looks fine. We have to make sure that his ankle is 100 percent, because going into Spring Training, we want him to feel right," Williams said. "We certainly don't want the ankle affecting his arm. Right now, he feels good. We'll monitor him as he goes through the drills. If your ankle is sore, it can affect everything. We will monitor him closely."
Jordan's 2013 season came to an end on Aug. 16 after he'd pitched six solid innings against the Braves. On an innings limit after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011, he pitched a combined 142 innings in the Major and Minor Leagues, won 10 games and had a 1.96 ERA.
"Everything went above and beyond what I was hoping for," Jordan said. "I wasn't expecting to make it to the big leagues last year. I was hoping to make an impact for a possibility to be there at the end of the year. I didn't expect to get there when I did."
Johnson hoping to save Tinker Field
VIERA, Fla. -- Although he is retired, former Nationals manager Davey Johnson let it be known on Monday that he cares about what happens in his native Orlando area.
Specifically, he's hoping to save 91-year-old Tinker Field.
"I want to put my two cents out there to save Tinker Field," said Johnson, who served as a batboy there in the 1950s.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the stadium is being torn down to help renovate the Florida Citrus Bowl stadium.
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.