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Washington Nationals injury updates: Ryan Madson back in Atlanta? Adam Eaton; Matt Grace + bullpen thoughts...

Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez addressed a few of the Nats’ injured players and where they’re at in their respective rehab work before tonight’s game...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE, MD: Ryan Madson was placed on the 10-Day Disabled on May 20th (retroactive to the 17th) with a chest strain, or as the veteran reliever described it, a strain in his pec after an active road trip which saw him pitch in three games of four-game series in Phoenix, AZ’s Chase Field.

“I didn’t feel anything while I was pitching,” Madson explained after he was placed on the DL.

“I threw a lot that week, and also I was throwing harder than usual, with more extension and everything, so it might have been too much.”

Asked then if he thought he’d miss an extended period of time, Madson said, “I don’t think so, no, I don’t think so.”

According to Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez, the 37-year-old reliever will throw one more bullpen session and then join the team on the next leg of their road trip when Washington travels to Atlanta after two more in Baltimore.

“He’s going to join us I think — one more bullpen, and he’s going to join us in Atlanta, so he’s good to go,” Martinez told reporters before the second of three with the Orioles.

Since he’s going to make it back within a relatively short period of time, Martinez said he didn’t see the need for a rehab stint.

“He’s had one really, really good bullpen the other day that I saw,” the manager explained, “... and he’s going throw another one, then with that he said he’s ready to go.”

The Nationals are currently rolling with an eight-man bullpen, and they’ll have to make some tough decisions once everyone is healthy.

“We’ve still got a few days,” Martinez said.

“Hopefully nobody gets injured, but we’ve got some big decisions to make, but we’re glad these guys are coming back and when those decisions need to be made, we’ll be ready to make them.”

With the injuries to the Madson and Matt Grace (who’s currently rehabbing at Double-A), a few veteran relievers have received an opportunity to show the Nationals and their skipper what they can do, and he’s been impressed with what they’ve offered.

“We’ve asked some guys to do different things and they’ve stepped up. I know having Justin Miller was real nice. He came in and pitched a couple good games for us, and just watching [Shawn] Kelley pitch yesterday as well.

“He did really well and was able to give us some pretty good outs yesterday and threw the ball really well, so I was excited about that.”

The depth that the Nationals’ front office assembled in the bullpen has been important early this season.

“Absolutely,” Martinez said.

“It’s nice to see these guys -- especially like we talked about Tim [Collins] working his way back to the big leagues after everything he’d been through, and another guy Justin Miller being out of the game and coming back and doing what he’s doing now.

“So these guys have done well so far here, and I have a lot of confidence in putting them in the games and getting big outs for us.”

Will they continue to go with the eight-man bullpen when the relievers start to return and Daniel Murphy, Adam Eaton and others are ready to return?

“We haven’t thought about it yet,” Martinez said.

“It’s actually pretty nice to be able to get guys in and out, I’ve used guys more than one reliever in an inning, which is kind of nice, so we’ll see and see how it plays out.”


Before the second of three with the Orioles in Oriole Park tonight, Adam Eaton, (who had surgery on his ankle when it became an issue again a year after he suffered a high ankle sprain while also blowing out his knee on a play at first base), was running pretty aggressive figure 8s in the outfield in OPACY, so reporters wondered if he might be a little ahead of schedule as he works to return to the lineup.

“When we get Eaton back, we get him back,” Martinez said.

“He’s pushing the envelope a little bit. As everybody knows he’s a little feisty little guy, so he wants to play, and he wants to play today, but like I said, we’ve waited this long, we’re going to make sure that he’s 100%.”

Is Eaton on board with that cautious approach?

“He’s on the 60-Day, so he’s still got some time,” Martinez said.


Left-handed reliever Matt Grace, who’s been on the DL since April 20th, with what was described in a press release on the move as a left groin strain, is back throwing again.

Grace returned to the mound earlier in the month for a relief appearance for Triple-A Syracuse, but was shut down again after the groin didn’t respond well.

Now, after another 20 days, he was in Harrisburg’s bullpen last night, throwing a scoreless inning for the Nationals’ Double-A affiliate.

“He’s doing well,” Martinez said today. “He pitched yesterday and did really well. I think he’s going to have one more outing, and then we’ll see if we can get him back this weekend.”