Stating the obvious, Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after Kurt Suzuki injured his elbow on a throw to second base in Atlanta last weekend that the bulk of the playing time will go to Yan Gomes while Suzuki was out.
At some point, however, one of the other two catchers on the roster, either Raudy Read or Tres Barrera, will have to get in a game.
“Eventually we have to get them in there,” Martinez told reporters this week, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “We can’t just run Gomes out there every day. We’ll see.”
“What’s nice about it,” he added, “is we’re playing so many night games right now (four in a row), so Gomes can catch.”
And, Martinez said, Gomes is in good shape and capable of playing multiple games in a row, so for now they’ll keep running him out there.
As for Suzuki, who got a relatively positive diagnosis of inflammation in his elbow, he began taking anti-inflammatory medicine to try to alleviate the issue so that he can start throwing again and work his way back.
“He had a little forearm tenderness in his arm, so we — obviously at his age and how much mileage he’s got on his arm, we’ve been really careful with him,” Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday.
“We want him to be fully healthy and able to catch as we finish this season off,” Rizzo added, “... so he’s feeling good though, the MRI came back clean which made him feel better and sleep better, so we’re just — he just needs a little rest. He’s taking some anti-inflammatories for his elbow and forearm, so he’s able to pinch hit right now and he’s going to start playing catch and throwing the ball soon, so I expect him to make a full recovery, and like I said he’s able to hit right now.”
It doesn’t hurt that Gomes has been swinging the bat a lot better recently, going 12 for 44 in the last 12 games heading into the finale with the Minnesota Twins last night, with a total of four doubles, three homers, and four walks in his last 48 plate appearances in that stretch (.273/.333/.568).
Before Gomes made his sixth straight start in the finale in Target Field, Martinez said that he would likely start Read, who has appeared in three games, and been behind the plate for an inning in the majors this season, in one of this weekend’s games with the Braves.
Read put up a .275/.317/.546 line with 17 doubles and 20 home runs in 82 games and 328 PAs at Triple-A Fresno in the Nationals’ system this season, coming off a 2018 campaign that saw him serve an 80-game PED suspension.
Barrera, a 2016 6th Round pick out of University of Texas at Austin, finished his fourth year in the Nats’ organization with a .249/.323/.381 line, 23 doubles, and eight homers over 101 games and 403 PAs at Double-A Harrisburg.
“Right now, I’m looking at Raudy catching, and then we’ll see from there,” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Zuckerman.
“But we’ve got to get them involved, just in case Suzuki comes back and he really can’t throw.”
Gomes went 1 for 4 in last night’s win, homering for the fourth time in 13 games and 10th time this season.