Jose Lobaton started three straight games this weekend, including Sunday afternoon’s series finale with the Brewers in Miller Park, after everyday catcher Matt Wieters took a foul ball off his right knee in the series opener in Milwaukee.
Dusty Baker told reporters before Saturday night’s matchup that he thought Wieters would be back in the lineup on Sunday.
“He’s doing okay,” Baker said. “He should be back tomorrow, or if I need him late in the game [tonight] maybe, but we’ve got to preserve him, and he’s been banged up the last couple years of his career so we really have to take care of him.”
Wieters did actually come on late in the Nationals’ win over the Brewers on Saturday night, but he didn’t start the finale of the four-game set, and he told reporters that the knee wasn’t the only issue he’d been dealing with in recent days.
Baker talked on Saturday afternoon about trying to make sure the 31-year-old veteran backstop is well-rested as the Nationals enter the stretch run and prepare for the Nats’ fourth postseason appearance in the last six seasons.
“We try to spot him,” Baker explained, “... and I was trying to play him today and then give him maybe tomorrow off, because then it might work out better today, and then we’ve got a left-hander tomorrow, and so I’m sure he’ll like that. So, we’ve got an early day game but he should be well-rested.”
“The knee’s fine,” Wieters said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman on Sunday, when his name was not penciled in as part of Baker’s lineup.
“Just bruises. No problem coming into play. I’ve been having a little bit of a tight back to go with it, so it’s kind of more just trying to get it completely freed up and loosened up before we get back there. I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Wieters has played in 107 games this season, with a .238/.294/.359 line 18 doubles and nine home runs in 405 plate appearances, over which he’s been worth 0.2 fWAR.
In his absence, Lobaton was a combined 0 for 6 with three strikeouts in three games weekend, and on the year, the 32-year-old backup has a .148/.220/.266 line with three doubles, and four HRs in 43 games and 142 PAs, over which he’s been worth -0.8 fWAR.
Raudy Read is currently the only other catcher on the Nationals’ major league roster, though Pedro Severino, who was optioned to Triple-A on August 25th, can be called back up once ten days have passed.