Bill Ladson

Nats' Soriano has productive bullpen session

Nats' Soriano has productive bullpen session

WASHINGTON -- As expected, Nationals reliever Rafael Soriano had a bullpen session Monday at Nationals Park, and the right-hander improved his mechanics, according to pitching coach Steve McCatty.

Soriano's fastball and slider were down in the strike zone. It helped that his shoulder was not flying open during the session.

"He was staying back and getting his hand out front. He looked good. His shoulder was down and kept the ball down." McCatty said.

Soriano took two days off this past weekend before having the bullpen session. Soriano looked at video, look at his release point and where his arm angle was, especially when he throws the slider.

After having an All-Star-caliber first half, Soriano has been hit hard after the break, saving nine games with a 6.98 ERA, while opponents are hitting .325 against him.

Manager Matt Williams didn't rule out Soriano appearing in a game as early as Monday against the Braves. Soriano most likely will not close. Williams said the closer will be based on matchups. Aaron Barrett, Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Matt Thornton all have closer's experience.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for 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.