Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters before the home opener in D.C. earlier this week that veteran catcher Matt Wieters was progressing well as he deals with an oblique issue that forced him to the 10-Day Disabled List.
“He’s doing a lot better,” Martinez said.
“My understanding is that he feels really good, and it shouldn’t take him that long to come back, and that’s good. I’m glad we nipped it in the bud.”
Miguel Montero, who made the Nationals’ Opening Day roster as Wieters’ backup, went on the Paternity List on Saturday morning too.
“Miggy’s having a baby, so he’s got three days,” Martinez explained before the second of three with the Mets.
The Nationals called Jhonatan Solano up to back up yesterday, and Pedro Severino, who was optioned to Triple-A at the start of the season and called back up when Wieters was placed on the DL, is on the major league roster as well.
Severino, 24, entered Spring Training as the presumptive backup, but ended up with the team’s top minor league affiliate, though Martinez assured reporters he remained part of Washington’s future plans.
“[Severino] is a future catcher,” Martinez explained, as quoted by Washington Post beat writer Chelsea Janes, after the Opening Day roster was announced.
”If one of those guys goes down, [Severino is] going to play,” he added. “[Montero] handles the staff well, the pitchers really well. And he’s always been a good, clutch hitter, and I like that. For me, it’s more about Severino and making sure … we do the right thing for him. We really value the fact he is going to be an everyday catcher for us one day.”
In his first game after getting called back up, Severino went 2 for 2 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch in what ended up an 8-2 win over the Braves in Atlanta.
“I thought he was really good, I really did. And proud of him,” Martinez told reporters when asked about the catcher’s 2018 debut.
“He did a great job. My concern with him is not really his hitting, it’s catching the way he did today, and that was outstanding. If he can do that for us, that’s what we want him to do. The hitting is bonus, but we want him to call good games and catch like he did today.”
Severino made his second start of the season on Saturday, going 2 for 3 with a run driven in and a stolen base.
Martinez was asked, after what ended up a 3-2 loss to the New York Mets, if the catcher of the future looked like he was MLB-ready right now.
“We’ve told Severino many times, ‘Hey, you’re going to be a big league catcher,’ and I like what I see,” Martinez said.
“He hustles. He’s a very athletic catcher, as you can tell, we let him steal a base today, and he’s starting to get the hang of calling games, which I really like a lot, so I like what I see so far.”