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Washington Nationals’ Spring Training 2021: Notes and quotes from Davey Martinez

Catch up on some of the small stories which didn’t make it into big stories here at Federal Baseball...

We’re back with another edition of our Spring Training notes and quotes for the Washington Nationals, where we share some news that likely won’t end up in a separate story. It’s a nice, quick way to keep you up to date on all things Nationals, without boring you with all of that context and background, stats, and data. [ed. note - “There is totally a bunch of that stuff in this story, not sure what he’s talking about here.”]

Really it’s just a way to make us think the transcribing we do on a daily basis is actually of use ... In that spirit, some notes and quotes...

Remember Rodríguez:

Signed out of the Dominican Republic as an international free agent in 2012, righty Jefry Rodríguez debuted for the Nationals in June of 2018, making 14 appearances and eight starts that season, before he was dealt to Cleveland that winter, in the trade that brought Yan Gomes to the nation’s capital.

MLB: Washington Nationals-Workouts Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Rodríguez pitched in the majors with Cleveland in 2019, but didn’t appear in the majors in 2020, and this winter, the 27-year-old signed a minor league deal with Washington, but he hasn’t pitched in a Grapefruit League game yet this spring, so a reporter asked manager Davey Martinez for an update on the righty on Wednesday morning.

“He’s got a little stiff shoulder,” Martinez explained, “so we backed him down a little bit.

“And he’s just doing progression stuff right now, building some strength up. Hopefully he’ll start getting on the mound here soon.”

Asked what Rodríguez is up to at this point, the skipper said he was, “... throwing, just flat ground. We’re just trying to build him up. I know we got him back here this past winter and we’re working on some things. We think he can help us in the bullpen. But we want to make sure he’s healthy.”

KieBOOM’s Approach:

We wrote at length last night about Carter Kieboom’s work this spring as he tries to bounce back from a tough 2020 campaign.

What does his manager think of the approach at the plate from the 23-year-old infielder so far in Grapefruit League action?

MLB: Washington Nationals at Houston Astros Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

“I think he’s trying to stay behind the ball a little bit better. Yesterday he hit a line drive to right field, which is encouraging, he stayed behind the ball,” Martinez said.

“It’s just continue to — he’s working with [hitting coach Kevin Long] on his swing a little bit. He’s got his hands back a little bit, but I kind of like the at bats. The thing that we want to get him to do is when he gets a good pitch to hit, is not miss it. Not foul it off. Those balls got to be put in play.

“It’s still early. Spring Training is about timing, and getting your timing. So, but his swing, I watched his batting practice, and his swing looks really good, so hopefully — I know the hits haven’t been there, but I like some of his at bats so far.”

Kieboom was 4 for 16 with a triple heading into play on Wednesday, and he was not in the lineup that took on the St. Louis Cardinals.

BULLPEN: Armenteros - A-R-M-E-N-T-E-R-O-S [DING!] and Rainey:

Right-hander Rogelio Armenteros, who was selected off waivers from the Arizona D-Backs this winter, made one appearance in Grapefruit League action, but he hasn’t been back on the mound since March 1st.

Martinez told reporters recently that he had been shut down with arm soreness. How is he doing as he works his way back to game action?

Houston Astros v Washington Nationals Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

“He’s doing better. He’s just building his strength back up. He’s been with the trainers, trying to get ready, trying to get back on the mound, but right now he’s just doing all — progressing fine. Hopefully he can start throwing here soon, it’s just a matter of getting him healthy.”

And how about Tanner Rainey, the hard-throwing right-hander who was dealing with some soreness around his collar bone area early this spring?

“Tanner is doing well,” Martinez said.

“He threw a 30-pitch bullpen yesterday— excuse me — two days ago, it was his day off yesterday. Today he’s going to play catch again and we’ll see how he feels.”