Bonjour, mes amis. We’re back with yet another edition of our Spring Training notes and quotes for your Washington Nationals, where we share news that you need to know, that likely won’t end up in a separate story. It’s a nice, and more importantly, a quick way to keep you up to date on all things Nationals, without boring you with all of that annoying context, and all of that stat-based analysis...
[ed. note - “We keep telling you that people do seem to like context for stories and they like stats and analysis, so we’re still not sure why you always say this stuff.”]
But really, we usually include some context and stuff, and some stats.
[ed. note - “At least you’re listening to us now, seemingly. Are you?]
Let’s all see what’s up today...
[ed. note - “Let’s... see how long you can keep doing intros like this and ignoring our advice about what readers really want. Shareable content, man! Short and sweet. Share. Able. Content! And hot takes!”]
Here are some of the highlights from manager Davey Martinez’s pregame Zoom call with reporters on Friday afternoon...
How Will Harris’s Absence Affect(s) Bullpen?:
The big news out of Davey Martinez’s press conference on Friday afternoon was that right-hander Will Harris has been shut down for now after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his right arm, and while concern for Harris’s health is paramount, the club does have to think about what they’re going to do at the back end of the bullpen if the right-hander is out for a while dealing with this issue.
What was Martinez’s reaction to the news on Harris, and what were his initial thoughts on how he’ll fill the role the veteran was expected to play if he’s unavailable?
“I often think about him a lot because of him, one, and also two, the rest of the bullpen guys that look up to him and he was going to be a big part of the bullpen.
“I feel like right now we have some guys that definitely could step up and fill his role. It’s going to be a tough role to fill, but we’ve got some guys that are throwing the ball well.
“These guys are all going to have to pitch well, especially we’ll have to figure out which guy is going to help pitch in the back end of the bullpen,” Martinez said. “It could be [Wander] Suero, could be [Kyle] Finnegan, could be someone else. But the good thing is, as I’ve said before, there’s depth that we have this year, so that’s kind of nice. We’ve still got a couple weeks left, I’m seeing a lot of different guys. Guys are starting to tune it in. We’re starting to see some good baseball, good strike-throwing, getting important outs, getting ground balls when they need them, I’m liking what I’m seeing so far in camp.”
Brad Hand was signed to close out games, but the talk from the team this winter and spring has been that there are multiple pitchers they think can close, a point Martinez reiterated on Friday.
“There will be some scenarios, which like I talked about it earlier, where we feel like in the eighth inning is a big opportunity for us to shut a team down where he fits the bill. So that makes — [Daniel Hudson] that can close out games, and also [Tanner] Rainey. I think Rainey, a healthy Rainey could do the same thing and close out some games for us as well. We got three guys for me that potentially could close out games. Would I love for Brad Hand to be the closer every day in the ninth inning? Absolutely. If that works out the way it does, awesome. But once again, as you know, these guys are going to need a day so we’ve got to find that balance. I’ve got to find that balance of who to use the day that we don’t use Brad Hand.
“Could be Huddy, could be Rainey, it could be Finnegan for all I know, we don’t know yet.
“What I like about Finnegan and Suero is they’ve shown me a lot this spring. Their maturity and what they’re trying to do. And they look good. As well all know, I can’t judge on Spring Training, I never have, so when the season starts we’ll see how this play out.”
On a lighter note, the Nationals released information on their promotional giveaways for the 2021 season on Friday, and they included a photo of the Davey Martinez bobblehead. And...
Did Martinez see the bobblehead?
“Yeah, I’ve seen my bobblehead. It’s kind of funny,” he said. But he doesn’t get too involved in that end of things.
“I don’t look much into it. What I do like, I’m holding a World Series trophy, that’s kind of nice.”
LASIK, LASIK, LASIK!!:
With Carter Kieboom’s struggles at the plate continuing this spring, and reporters subtly asking questions about who else can play third base, you know, if necessary, Kieboom’s manager was asked what he’s seen from the 23-year-old, 2016 1st Round pick?
“He’s working, working a lot, just on all aspects of the game, really,” Martinez said. “Working on defense with [bench coach Tim Bogar]. Working on his hitting with [hitting coaches Kevin Long and Pat Roessler]. So, he’s putting the time in. I see him in the cage a lot. See him talking through some things.
“He’s putting all the time in, we just hope that it transforms in a game for him.”
Kieboom’s hitting coach revealed earlier in Spring Training that the infielder had LASIK this winter. Has Martinez noticed a difference?
“I think it’s a little better,” the skipper said.
“He’s laid off some pretty tough pitches, especially breaking balls. I never dealt with that kind of stuff when it comes to the eye stuff, so I know his timing right now seems like it’s just a tick off, and I know he’s been trying to get ready early and being on time. Hopefully that will come here really soon.”