Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters before yesterday afternoon’s game in West Palm Beach, FL, that this afternoon’s matchup with the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie would be a bullpen day as he tries to get everyone innings in Spring Training 2021.
“[It] will be kind of a bullpen day. I think [Kyle] Finnegan is going to start us off tomorrow,” the fourth-year skipper said.
“We’re trying to keep — with the amount of innings that these guys pitched last year, and the regular season this year, a lot of — we’re trying to keep these guys to maybe five starts along with some of their live BPs, but five starts before we start the season,” Martinez said, in explaining his approach to building pitchers up this spring, after their truncated season last summer.
Martinez also talked, after yesterday’s game, about how he builds position players up too to get them ready for the regular season. It’s not just pitchers he’s handling carefully in Spring Training.
“What we really try to do is build them up so they’re ready to go right in April,” Martinez said. “Probably the last week to ten days we really want these guys to really start playing consistently, and getting at bats consistently, and ramping it up. We got to be ready go April 1st, so until then these guys will play, we’ll start building them up. Right now they’re almost every other day, here soon we’ll play them two games on, one day off, we’ll start getting their legs underneath them. My biggest concern is their arms, you know, making sure their arms are in good shape. They do throw a lot in Spring Training, take a lot of ground balls. So I really worry about their arms, but I have a lot of conversations with these guys about playing time down in Spring Training, and how they’re feeling and they’re pretty good about communicating where they’re at, so with that being said we want to play them as much as possible but yet we want to be smart because it is a long season.”
So the manager has held back his top starters so far, and kept his Nos. 1-2 catchers working on the back fields in live bullpens as they get to know all of the pitchers in camp, with plans to play the top backstops when the top starters are ready to go.
More than anything, Martinez just wants to get everyone through camp healthy, so that the club is ready for the start of the season, so they can hopefully start strong after a 26-34, 4th place finish last year (after they won the World Series in 2019).
This morning, Martinez shared his plans for handling the pitching today, and if you’re into a bunch of Nats’ pitching prospects, you might want to tune in for the game.
“We got [Kyle] Finnegan,” Martinez said, “who’s going to start the game, and then after that like I said, we’ve got some young guys: [Matt] Cronin, [Cade] Cavalli, [Jackson] Rutledge, [Bryan] Bonnell, [Jacob] Condra-Bogan, [and] Cole Henry.” Think that qualifies as must-see.
It all starts at 1:05 PM ET.