Feb 25, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — An MRI on Ryan Mattheus’ upper right chest revealed inflammation of the cartilage connected to a rib, a relatively minor injury that should keep the Nationals reliever sidelined only a few more days.
Mattheus officially was diagnosed with costochondritis, a condition common to many people who injure themselves coughing but rare for an athlete to experience on the field of play.
Mattheus said he was sick a couple of weeks before the start of spring training but believes he hurt himself throwing a pitch during a bullpen session one week ago.
“The doctor said he sees a case of it pretty much every day, but not from athletes,” he said. “It’s usually somebody who has an upper respiratory infection, or something where they’re coughing a lot. But it’s basically the same thing. I just did it throwing.”
The 30-year-old right-hander said there’s no specific treatment for the condition, which simply requires rest to heal. He’ll attempt to gradually work back up to performing more physical activities until he’s confident he can’t cause any more damage.
“I think it’s going to be kind of day-to-day,” he said. “What can I handle without creating any setbacks? I guess it’s good news in the fact it’s going to get better and I didn’t break or tear anything. I just have to wait and see.”
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