Davey Martinez told Roenis Elías not to swing in both Spanish and English, the Washington Nationals’ bilingual skipper said, but the 31-year-old lefty, acquired from Seattle’s Mariners this week, decided to try for his second major league hit (in seven plate appearances) in the top of the seventh on Friday night, and felt something in his upper right leg pull on his way to first base as he ran out a grounder to second.
Elías recorded two outs in the sixth, but the Nationals’ manager planned to send him back out against another left-hander in the bottom of the seventh since his bench was short, so he let him hit for himself in the top of the inning.
“You could see he’s competitive, you know,” Martinez explained. “He said sorry to me, but I told him, I said, ‘You know, it’s part of the game,’ I said, ‘You’ll be fine, so don’t worry about it, but next time just listen. You’re not here to hit, you’re here to pitch.’”
“I felt a small pull in the back,” Elías said, through translator Octavio Martinez, as quoted by Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty, after Friday night’s 3-0 win over Arizona.
“I can’t tell you if it was the hamstring or a cramp. I just felt it and immediately decided to shut it down. That’s why they told me they’ll look at it tomorrow more in depth. I can’t give you any details as to what it is.”
“When we brought him inside it was more like a higher kind of, in his buttocks, so we’ll see,” Martinez said when asked about the extent of the injury, which looked to be a typical hamstring issue initially.
“Right now he was getting treatment, they said they’re going to treat it as a cramp until they get him back here tomorrow.”
Before the second game of three in Chase Field, the manager and Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked about the injury to the left-hander, who came over from the Mariners before this past Wednesday’s Trade Deadline.
“He’s going in, he’s getting treatment,” Martinez said, “... we’re going to monitor him and see how he feels today, but he said he felt okay. I saw him too, he wasn’t limping like he was last night, so that was a good sign.”
“Oftentimes those things that feel like a cramp early on linger into something a little bit more significant,” Rizzo told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, with the General Manager explaining that they needed to decide whether or not they had to put Elías onto the Injured list.
“It doesn’t look to be serious,” Rizzo said, “but we’re not sure where he’s at. We don’t want to be shorthanded for nine days, 10 days, either. So we’ll see where we’re at. It doesn’t seem to be too beyond that kind of a thought process.”
“I’m assuming that we’re going to get him an MRI today,” Martinez added. “I haven’t talked to [team trainer] Paul [Lessard] yet, but that’s typically protocol just to make sure nothing else is going on.”
Rizzo talked excitedly about Elías as an upgrade to the Nationals’ bullpen after acquiring the southpaw, and he said he liked what he saw from the pitcher while he was on the mound.
“We scouted him quite a bit,” Rizzo told reporters.
“Our guys who evaluated him really liked him. He’s had some success. And I think not only this year but beyond, we like what we have in him.”