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

Leftover notes and quotes from Davey Martinez’s pregame press conference with reporters on Sunday morning...

Hey, y’all. We’re back with yet another edition of our semi-regular Spring Training notes and quotes for the Washington Nationals, where we share some news that you need to know, though it likely won’t end up in a separate story. It’s a nice, and more importantly, quick way to keep you up to date on all things Nationals, without boring you with all of that annoying context-y stuff and number crunching. [ed. note - “Is it just me, or does he always do this, and then put context in, along with numbers? No idea why he’s trying that cool, ‘Context and stats are teh stupid,’ thing again. Seems thirsty.”] But really, we usually include some context and stuff, and some stats. [ed. note - “This. Guy. Amirite? I say we protest this fraud, who is with me?!?!! I’m outraged. If they had editors here I would write a letter to them!!!”] Let’s see what’s up today. [ed. note - “We refuse if there will be context and stats.”] Read on to find out.

Here are some of the highlights from manager Davey Martinez’s pregame Zoom call with reporters on Saturday...

Latest Rainey Day Update:

Tanner Rainey is still working his way back after experiencing soreness in what manager Davey Martinez described as the “collar bone area” earlier this spring. Rainey threw off a mound again this weekend, and came out of it feeling good.

“He threw 20 pitches,” Martinez said on Sunday. “He’s about at 80%, he said he had a lot more in the tank, but we kind of want to control what he’s doing, but he looked good.

“No pain, no issues. So we’ll reevaluate him tomorrow as well and see where he’s at.”

MLB: Washington Nationals-Workouts Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

The ideal path forward for the reliever, who, in 20 1⁄3 IP last season, put up a 2.66 ERA, 3.78 FIP, seven walks (3.10 BB/9), 32 Ks (14.16 K/9), and a .119/.213/.328 line against, and got the club talking about him as a potential future closer?

“What I’d like to do with him is give him another two days in-between,” Martinez said, “get him back on a live [batting practice], let him amp up a little bit — as if he was coming in a game, like he normally does, and get him up to about 90-95% and then after that hopefully everything comes out well, and start plopping him in the game.

“What I saw today, he looked good.”

Lester Throws Again:

Jon Lester, who signed a 1-year/$5M deal with the Nationals this winter, went for surgery to remove one of four parathyroid glands earlier this month, but he returned to the club fairly quickly, and is back throwing already as he tries to build back up with the hope of being in the starting rotation at the start of the season. Lester threw again on Sunday. What did his manager see?

Photo © and courtesy Washington Nationals.

“He threw 37 pitches, two innings. He looked good. He was about 75-80%, but the ball was coming out well. So, we’ll see. We’ll reevaluate him tomorrow, see how he feels tomorrow.

“He mentioned about getting in a game, but we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Exit Meeting:

Victor Robles, according to his manager, knew exactly what he needed to do this winter, after struggling at the plate and in the field in 2020. Robles bulked up while waiting for a chance to play last summer, with baseball shut down between March and July, and there were some issues that the club wanted him to address this offseason as far as his agility, and his speed. But Martinez said the 23-year-old was self-aware enough to acknowledge those areas of need when they spoke in an exit interview last September.

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

“When I have these meetings, I want the player to speak,” Martinez explained, “I want them to assess themselves first before I say something, and Victor, he was spot-on. We had a great conversation. But he knew exactly what he needed to do this winter. And for me that shows a sign of maturity. And he worked on those things, and right now in Spring Training, he’s playing really well.

“He’s down a bunch of weight, but yet he’s still strong. He’s moving really good. He’s worked on some things with his hitting.

“He’s not trying to do a whole lot, but just stay in the middle of the field. He’s hitting the ball in all fields. I saw him try to bunt already once. He’s playing the game the way that we feel like he should play the game, and utilizing all his tools, and kudos to Victor for making that choice.”