A few hours before the Washington Nationals placed Aaron Barrett (right triceps strain) and James Bourque (right elbow strain) on the 10-Day IL, manager Davey Martinez talked about the other injured or overworked relievers in his bullpen and how he planned to handle them over the final week of the 2020 season.
Tanner Rainey put together an impressive campaign before he landed on the Injured List with a right flexor strain back on September 15th, and Martinez confirmed the obvious in the Zoom call with reporters from Nationals Park.
Rainey is done for the year.
“He’s still recovering,” the third-year skipper said. “He feels better, but ... we’re going to take it slow with him and hopefully, who knows, maybe he can get ready, but he hasn’t thrown in a while, so in order for him to get back on the mound and rebuild up at this point, I want to be more cautious and say that he’s probably done for the year. Unless we win all our games and other teams lose their games and we somehow get in this thing. But for right now, I just want him to just focus on getting stronger, build up some strength, and then go from there.”
Rainey, 27, who has been talked about (by Martinez) as a potential future closer for the club, put up a 2.66 ERA, a 3.77 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 before the injury, holding hitters to a .149 AVG on his 96.6 MPH (AVG) four-seamer and a .050 AVG on his filthy a** 87 MPH slider.
WANDER WHERE SUERO AND HUDSON HAVE BEEN?:
Martinez ended up using Wander Suero in the sixth inning of the series opener with Philly on Monday, but he talked before the game about limiting the reliever down the stretch to protect him as well after the 29-year-old started late and made 20 appearances out of the bullpen, with a 3.68 ERA, 2.77 FIP, six walks (2.45 BB/9), and 23 Ks (9.41 K/9) in 22 IP after a scoreless frame against the Phillies.
“[Suero has] actually thrown the ball really well,” Martinez said before the game.
“Here’s another guy too, who, remember, he had really no Spring Training.
“He had two outings in Fredericksburg and then we brought him up, he started off slow, and then we ramped him up and he was pitching well there for a while.
“So this is just, for me, it was kind of like, if we need him in a tough spot we’ll use him, but I’m trying to take care of him as well, because he’s another guy who is part of that bullpen for the future.
“This year has been crazy for him. And I want to make sure I take care of him.”
“[Daniel Hudson] hasn’t pitched in four days,” Martinez added.
“I don’t think he pitched in the whole Miami series. We just want to make sure that we take care of these guys and I don’t over-use them.
“With that being said, our bullpen is a little bit strapped today, so both of those guys might have to pitch today.”
Suero did, as noted above, and Hudson worked a scoreless ninth in the 5-1 win.”
NOM DE GUERRA:
Martinez also offered an update on veteran righty Javy Guerra, who made 14 appearances out of the bullpen this year, before the 34-year-old right-hander landed on the IL with left hamstring issues earlier this month.
“Javy Guerra is still nursing his hamstring. He threw yesterday. He said he felt it a little bit, so he’s going to throw again, not today, but possibly tomorrow, so we’ll see how he feels then.”
Guerra, in his second season with the Nats, put up a 4.02 ERA, a 4.52 FIP, seven walks (4.02 BB/9), and 13 Ks (7.47 K/9) in 15 2⁄3 IP before the injury.
COME BACUS TO US:
Martinez also provided an update on Dakota Bacus, the 29-year-old right-hander who made his MLB debut this season, but went on the IL on September 7th with a right flexor strain.
He’s not going to pitch again this season either.
“Probably not,” the skipper said. “He had a significant strain in his forearm, so we’re just going to take it easy with him as well and get him ready for 2021.”
“We just want to be cautious with him. Here’s a guy that throws a lot of breaking balls, we know that, that’s who he is.
“We just want to make sure we’re cautious. We think that in the future he’s a guy that can also help us in that bullpen. We want to make sure that he’s healthy.”
Bacus did undergo an MRI on the arm, but Martinez said, “Everything came back clean, it’s just a strain.”