Last we heard from manager Davey Martinez before today, Nationals’ reliever Tanner Rainey was dealing with tightness in his right forearm, and needed a few days so he and the club could assess the extent of the issue.
An MRI last week came back clean, according to the manager, but when Martinez spoke on Sunday he said the 27-year-old reliever still needed some time.
“We’re going to reevaluate him on Tuesday,” the skipper explained. “We’re giving him a few days off and we’ll see how he feels then. I talked to him today and he’s still a little tender.
“He wanted a couple days, so we’ll see how he feels on Tuesday.”
Early this afternoon, Washington announced that they were placing the reliever on the 10-Day Injured List, (retroactive to 9/12), with a right flexor strain.
“He came in today, he said he felt a little bit better, we just want to be safe and make sure that he’s 100% when he comes back. That was the decision right there,” Martinez said in a pregame Zoom call this afternoon.
“We gave him a few days to see how he felt, but at this point we just want to make sure that he’s going to be totally fine. We don’t want any setbacks. When we deem that he’s ready to go, hopefully it’s sooner than later that we’ll get him back. But we wanted to make sure we were careful.”
Asked if there was concern, as there often is when you hear flexor strain and immediately a first thought is Tommy John, or that this could be a sign of something worse, Martinez said, “No.”
“I think like I said, I think we caught it early and he’s going to be fine. I mean, like I said, he felt better today, but we don’t want to push the issue. We backdated it so that when he’s ready to come off and he’s 100%, then we’ll get him back, but until then I told him, I said, ‘Let’s do your progression, work with the trainers, get you strong again, and then we’ll start throwing again, but right now, just get you strong again and then we’ll start throwing again.”
Rainey has made 20 appearances out of the bullpen through 45 games, with a 2.66 ERA, a 3.79 FIP, seven walks (3.10 BB/9), 32 Ks (14.16 K/9), and a .119/.213/.328 line against in 20 1⁄3 IP.
Taking Rainey’s place in the bullpen for now is veteran right-hander Aaron Barrett, who was called back up the big leagues from the Nationals’ Alternate Training Site in Fredericksburg, VA.
“He’s been here before, he’s a veteran guy,” Martinez said. “He’s throwing the ball well down there, so he was the guy we chose. I like that he understands what we’re trying to do here, and I know he can help us, especially against right-handed hitters. So, we chose Aaron, I love him, he brings a lot of energy, he’s a great guy, great teammates, so happy that he’s back.”