With Kurt Suzuki unavailable after injuring his elbow throwing to second base on September 7th, Yan Gomes started in 12 of 13 games, and produced, going 12 for 44 (.273/.333/.545) in 48 plate appearances, with three doubles and three home runs over that stretch, which left him with a .222/.317/.370 line, 14 doubles, and 10 homers overall in 92 games, 85 starts, and 338 PAs in his first season in D.C.
Before the injury, Suzuki was getting more playing time, though they’d split duties behind the plate pretty evenly all season.
Suzuki had a .263/.321/.478 line, 11 doubles, and 16 home runs in 82 games, 68 starts, and 302 PAs.
Suzuki made a pinch hit appearance over the weekend, driving in three runs with a bases-loaded double in his first at bat in 14 days.
“I told him he was pinch hitting,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nationals’ 10-4 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday, “... and he got up there and I said, ‘Don’t take a fastball. Get ready to hit the fastball. You haven’t swung in a while ... ‘ but he got up there and was ready to hit, right from the first pitch. If we can get him going, down the stretch we need him.
“So hopefully at least he can pinch hit and hopefully he can get back out and catch here soon.”
Suzuki had been swinging the bat all along, and trying to stay in game shape, but after he threw yesterday, the 35-year-old catcher told reporters he was close to being ready to return, barring any lingering soreness after his workout in Nationals Park.
“Worked out again today,” Suzuki explained, “and like I said, take it day-by-day and see how I feel, but progressing good, so...”
So... he’s ready to start catching again?
“We’ll see how I feel tomorrow,” Suzuki said. “I worked out today and did some stuff, and picked up the intensity a little bit, so just keep progressing.”
“He looked good,” Bench Coach Chip Hale said when he spoke to reporters before the first of five with the Philadelphia Phillies this week in the nation’s capital. “He was out to, I know, at least 120 [feet] throwing hard, so he - I know he talked to you guys already, correct? Feels good, so we’ll see how it goes, see how it feels tomorrow is the big key, the doubleheader.
“Max [Scherzer] will pitch the night game, so that would be probably the one that Kurt will catch.”
Asked if he was capable of throwing, not only to second base, but back to the mound a few hundred times, Suzuki said he wouldn’t take the next step unless he was.
“Honestly, if I play I feel like I can do everything that I need to do to compete,” Suzuki said.
“I’m not going to go out there and put myself in jeopardy and the team in jeopardy and not be able to compete.
“So if I’m in the lineup, I think everybody should know that I can compete out there and feel like I’m good enough to go.”
Will he be in the lineup tonight? Martinez pumped the brakes on that talk a little when he was asked about Suzuki returning after the Nationals’ 7-2 win in the opener with the Phils.
“We’ll see,” the manager said. “I really need to sit down and talk to [Trainer] Paul [Lessard], and I know he threw today. He didn’t throw great, but he threw. And he threw at 120 feet. He got down, he emulated catching, but I want to make sure that when he gets up tomorrow that he’s not sore.”