Washington Nationals’ catcher Matt Wieters was placed on the Disabled List on April 2nd with a mild left oblique strain. Wieters is eligible to return on Wednesday, and after the catcher and his manager discussed plans for the veteran backstop on Monday afternoon, the Nats’ High-A affiliate announced that he would make a rehab start tonight as he works his way back.
Wieters, 31, told reporters he initially felt something in Spring Training, but played in two games before it got worse and the Nationals decided to rest it rather than have it end up being a longer-term issue.
“We don’t want to take a chance. He’s got a very slight, mild strain in his oblique,” Martinez said as quoted by the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes and Jorge Castillo.
“Rather than let it become a really big issue, we figured we’d give it the 10 days and get it taken care of and get him going again.”
Pedro Severino was called up when Wieters went down, and the Nationals had to bring up Jhonatan Solano when backup Miguel Montero was placed on the Paternity List.
With the two catchers who made the Opening Day roster due to return, Martinez said he and the Nationals’ decision makers are considering keeping three catchers on the roster when everyone’s healthy and available.
“We have some decisions to make when Miggy and Wieters both come back,” he explained.
“We haven’t decided that yet. Good possibility we keep three catchers, we don’t know that yet, but we’re going to talk about it.”
Severino, 24, has impressed since he came up, with Martinez telling reporters a few times in the last week that the decision to send him to Triple-A at the start of the season was about his development, and getting him everyday at bats.
“I like Pedro. I’ve always liked Pedro,” Martinez said.
“When we sent him down it wasn’t a demotion, it was getting him ready to play and having him play every day, but he’s doing great. I talked to him today in the office and told him how good he’s doing, just keep it up. He’s learning the pitches, calling a good game, he’s doing everything right, so I love what I see out of him.”
Wieters said on Monday afternoon that he’d accomplished a lot of what he wanted to before he’s deemed ready to return.
“We crossed off most of the things that we wanted to today, by getting on the field and throwing to bases,” he said.
“I’ll catch a couple bullpens tomorrow and just kind of squat and move around that way, and kind of do the same thing that we did today again tomorrow, and see how it feels after that.
“As long as we feel as good as we did today or keep getting better than we should be ready to go.”
Apparently the Nationals decided to send him to play for Potomac instead first.