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Washington Nationals place Will Harris on 10-Day IL with groin strain + Sean Doolittle doing some tinkering + more

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Some bullpen notes while we wait for the Nationals to start playing games again on Tuesday...

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Toronto Blue Jays v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

WILL HARRIS TO 10-DAY IL:

“[Will] Harris has a little bit of a groin thing going on that we’re trying to take care of,” Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters after Thursday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, in explaining why he’d stayed away from using Harris.

The Nationals’ four-day break with their scheduled three-game set with the Miami Marlins this weekend postponed should give Harris some time to heal up.

“We’re hoping that these days we can nip it in the bud and get him ready for Tuesday,” the Nats’ skipper added.

Harris, 35, signed a 3-year/$24M free agent deal with the Nationals this winter, coming off a 2019 campaign with the Houston Astros in which he posted a 1.50 ERA, a 3.15 FIP, 14 walks (2.10 BB/9), 62 strikeouts (9.30 K/9), and a .196/.246/.294 line against in 60 innings pitched.

In two appearances this season, the nine-year veteran has given up three hits, three runs, one earned, and two walks, while striking out two batters.

Friday morning, the Nationals placed Harris on the 10-Day Injured List (retroactive to 7/29) with a strained right groin.

DOOING SOME WORK:

Elsewhere in the bullpen, Sean Doolittle is working on his mechanics as he tries to get them straightened out. His focus?

“Trying to create better rhythm with my delivery and use my legs better to get a better drive towards home plate, to get better extension,” Doolittle told reporters after giving up one run on two hits in his 2020 debut.

“I wasn’t really allowing — prior to this outing — my lower half had been relatively quiet and nonexistent. I felt that I was throwing kind of all arm, and wasn’t getting the extension that I need to get in order to be effective. So I’ve been working really hard with [Pitching Coach] Paul Menhart, with [bullpen catcher] Octavio Martinez, in the bullpen, and [Bullpen Coach] Henry Blanco.

“I’ve been watching a bunch of film. I got it sent to my iPad so I could watch it.

“We’ve been grinding it out for the last week. I’ve made a lot of progress. I obviously still have work to do, but I feel close, I feel close, and I’m going to continue to go out there and attack and hopefully start finding a way to put some zeroes on the board.”

Martinez updated reporters on Doolittle’s status when he spoke after Thursday afternoon’s game against the Blue Jays.

“Doo is just working on some things with mechanics, kind of want to stay away from him. He’s going to throw Saturday and we’ll see where we’re at there.”

So, if you were wondering why Martinez has been leaning on Tanner Rainey, Ryne Harper, and Daniel Hudson...

SPEAKING OF HARPER:

Acquired from the Minnesota Twins this past January, in return for minor league pitcher Hunter McMahon, Ryne Harper has thrown five scoreless innings over seven games the Nationals have played so far, walking one batter and striking out six. What’s working for Harper, the 31-year-old veteran? What’s impressed his manager so far?

“His ability to mix pitches up and throw strikes,” Martinez said Thursday. “He very seldom gets behind on a hitter. His ability to throw strikes with all his pitches.

“He’s been really good, really good for us. I like when he’s out there, you know what you’re going to get.”