While the Washington Nationals were wrapping up their latest sim game last night, the club released some news on Twitter, announcing that they were placing both RHP Wander Suero and LHP Roenis Elías on the Injured List.
Davey Martinez spoke to reporters on a Zoom call right after the announcement was made, but the Nationals’ manager couldn’t really offer much in the way of details, limited as teams are in what they can discuss about health issues players are dealing with as baseball ramps back up during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I can’t say anything about that,” Martinez said when he was asked about the relievers going on the IL.
While he couldn’t offer details about what landed Suero and Elías on the Injured List, he did say that he hopes they can come back sooner than later.
“It’s all based on protocol now,” Martinez explained. “We’ve got to wait and see. Hopefully we get them back here fairly soon. That’s all I can tell you.”
So far in Spring Training 2.0, Suero, Elías, Howie Kendrick, Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Luis Garcia, Joan Adon, and Fernando Abad have been noticeably absent, and what we know from the team is that they did have two players test positive for COVID-19 in intake testing, and the others came in contact with someone who tested positive, so they’ve quarantined over the last week-plus.
All the manager would say about the players who are missing is, “It’s the same situation, hopefully we can get them back as soon as possible.”
Does the timing of the two players go on the IL eliminate the possibility that they can be ready for Opening Day (July 23rd)?
“They could be cleared by then,” Martinez said. “Hopefully we can get them back as soon as possible. With those two guys [Suero and Elías], when they come, they’ve got to pitch. They’ve got to build their pitch count up. They’ve got face live hitters. They’ve got to do a lot of things. I don’t want to speculate anything. But we’ll see when they come in how they are and how they’re doing and we’ll go from there.”
Both Suero and Elías were expected to be part of the Nationals’ bullpen this season, so, the manager was asked, how big a loss will it be it if they’re unavailable to start of the 60-game schedule?
“It’s a big loss for sure,” he said, “but we’re looking at the guys that are here. I’ve seen some pretty good things out of a few of these guys already. I think for the time being we’ve got what we need to start the season. Like I said, hopefully we get these guys back as soon as possible, and they’re not that far behind. If we can get them to throw a couple sides, maybe one live BP and then maybe get them in a game or two before we start, who knows.”