Nǐ hǎo péngyǒu! 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 for us, really a quick way to keep you up to date on all things Nationals, but without boring you with that annoying context-y, personality-based approach to coverage that’s so popular around the internets, or all of that stat-based analysis...
[ed. note - “I think people like to get to know players with that personal stuff, and context helps anyone who isn’t devouring news on the Nationals 24 hours a day like some of us, plus if traffic is any measurement worth noting, 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 - “You’re killing me, Smalls. Why even have the previous sentence in there then?”]
Let’s all see what’s up today...
[ed. note - “Let’s... not and say we did. You’re getting annoying with this stuff, and I don’t get paid enough to keep humoring you.”]
Here are some of the highlights from manager Davey Martinez’s pregame Zoom call with reporters on Saturday afternoon...
Victor Robles’s Back:
Victor Robles left Friday night’s game after tweaking his back on a play in center field, but the Nationals’ skipper, Davey Martinez, said it was just a precautionary thing after the 10-9 win over the Houston Astros.
“He kind of slipped a little bit when he went to go throw the ball,” Martinez explained, “and we saw him go backwards a little bit. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. So it was precaution we took him out and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Robles was not in the lineup for last night’s matchup with the Miami Marlins, but Martinez said it was a planned day off and not a sign of an issue with his back.
“He feels fine. Today he had a scheduled day off, so hopefully we’ll get him back out there tomorrow, but he’s going to take some swings here and do his regular routine, but he said he felt fine,” Martinez explained.
Asked if he talked to Robles about maybe taking things a little easier out there in center in Spring Training, the manager said that’s not something he likes to tell his players.
“It’s funny because, as a young player, you tend to just have all this energy, and he’s one of those guys where he just plays full out,” Martinez said.
“If I was to tell him to kind of just take it easy or whatever, I feel like I am not letting him play the way he’s capable of playing and wants to play, and that’s when typically guys tend to do something that they’re not supposed to do.
“For him, I let him go out there and play. For me, I don’t like running out that far, so I told him, ‘Try not to get hurt out there, because that’s a long run to center field for me right now.’”
Fedde, Voth, or Ross ... or all three eventually, really:
The assumption right now, amongst those following the Nationals this spring, is that Joe Ross is likely to claim the fifth spot, with Austin Voth (who’s out of options) taking a long-relief role in the pen, and Erick Fedde (who has an option remaining) starting the year at Triple-A Rochester, the club’s new AAA affiliate.
But the Nationals’ skipper was clear on Saturday afternoon that nothing has been decided yet, when he was asked how he has communicated with the three starters about the fight for the fifth spot, and what he will tell the pitchers who don’t end up claiming the back of the rotation role at the start of the 2021 campaign.
“One, we treat them no differently than any other Spring Training. We want them to come here and get ready,” Martinez said, explaining that the focus is on building up all three, so they’re all ready to contribute regardless of how things shake out roster-wise.
“As you know, anything can happen, injuries, all sorts of things,” he continued. “We want them to go out there — and this game is about competing — so I let them go out there and do their thing, compete, we’re teaching, we’re constantly teaching, we’re constantly trying to make them better to help us win games.
“As you guys know, I’ve said this before, regardless of who starts the first time you’re always going to need these guys, so we have to keep them prepared, got to keep them upbeat.
“They’re a big part of our success moving forward throughout 162 games, and I try to reiterate that with them. Somewhere along the line, they’re going to be needed, and you saw that in past history, that these guys all potentially help us win games throughout the season. With that being said, they’re out there competing. It’s going to be a tough decision. Obviously. But when that decision is made, that’s the guy we’re going to go with and the other guys will fit in however we need them.”
Brief Will Harris Update:
Just for FYI sakes, Martinez provided the following update on Will Harris, who was recently diagnosed with a blood clot in his right arm and is now waiting for an appointment with a specialist in St. Louis.
“He hasn’t seen the doctor yet. Still waiting to hear back. We don’t know any specifics yet, so as soon as he gets the schedule to when he can go see this guy in St. Louis, I will make sure I let everybody know.”