Next man up. No one cares about the injury issues your team is dealing with in the majors, because there are games to be played every day-ish no matter who’s available.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about overcoming those issues to stay competitive while you wait for your expected everyday players to get back in the lineup.
“I think we’re second in all of baseball in roster moves and players on the roster,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies this past Wednesday, when he was asked about Washington’s injury-filled first two months of the season, “and the injuries have been really — there’s not a lot of cramped calves and stuff like that, we’re getting breaks and tears and surgeries, and season-ending stuff.”
Howie Kendrick’s ruptured achilles tendon was the latest to hit the Nationals’ roster, but it provided 19-year-old outfielder Juan Soto with an opportunity to test himself at the major league level a bit earlier than previously planned, but with the long list of injuries over the first two months, Rizzo has had to take some drastic steps.
“It’s been really dramatic,” he said, “and I can’t remember a season where you’ve got half of your Opening Day lineup on the disabled list for extended periods of time, and you’ve got three or four relief pitchers that are on the DL, and our minor league system, our scouts and player development guys, they just keep finding guys that we throw in the big league mix and you get them in that culture that we’ve created here and it’s like you get some guys that have struggled in the past or have had problems at other places in the past, they fit in that clubhouse perfectly, we put them in the melting pot and Davey makes it work.”
First-year skipper Davey Martinez has confronted all kinds of adversity roster-wise in his first 48 games as a major league manager.
“It’s really remarkable,” Rizzo said.
“When you think of all the injuries we’ve had to key players and key starters and we’re performing at the level we are. It’s a testament to our player development guys who get these guys ready for the big leagues, and to that coaching staff and to Davey Martinez, who’s been masterful.”
Martinez’s Nats start a three-game set with the Marlins in Miami’s Marlins Park tonight at 26-22 on the season, 3.0 games back in the division before the start of their series with their NL East rival, who are 19-30, in fifth place in the East.