Before he landed on the 10-Day IL with a left oblique strain, Wander Suero had appeared in eight of the Washington Nationals’ first 12 games this season. He was called upon so often, it became something of a joke in the bullpen.
“It’s kind of a running joke, first call of the night is usually Suero, you know. It’s usually him getting up first no matter what night it is,” Daniel Hudson joked when he spoke on a Zoom call with reporters a few days after Suero went on the IL.
”Now, it’s kind of like, ‘Who is this one going to be? If it’s not Suero, who’s it going to be?’ It’s definitely a big hole to fill. Wander goes out there and takes the ball every single day and is usually pretty damn effective. So, it’s a big hole to fill, but I know guys are going to step up and the sooner we can get Wander back the better as well.”
Before the oblique injury, Suero, 29, had a 1.42 ERA, three walks, five Ks, and a .136/.240/.182 line against in 6 1⁄3 IP out of the ‘pen this season.
Martinez reported on Sunday that the reliever has tested the oblique as he tries to build back up for an eventual return.
“Suero is doing great. He’s moving around pretty good. He did some throwing drills without throwing a baseball, just simulating his mechanics and stuff and he felt fine,” Martinez said.
But having been out of action for over a week now, it will take some time to build up.
“He’ll have to start building up again and we’ll get him to throw some flat ground, throw some distance throwing, and then we’ll go from there.”
Considering how often Martinez was turning to him, Suero’s been missed, and when those comments by Hudson were mentioned to the manager he got a kick out of hearing that it’s sort of a thing in the bullpen.
“It’s so funny, because those guys in the bullpen think that we’re related somehow,” he said.
“But he’s just that guy. I rely on him, I depend on him. He never — he comes in every day and he always says he’s good to go every single day.
“He actually gets mad at me when I go ask him how he’s feeing today, he says, ‘Don’t ask [me] that. I’m good. I’m always good.’ But we miss him, so hopefully he gets back soon.”
Others have stepped up in his absence of course, including Kyle Finnegan, who’s appeared in three of five games since Suero ended up on the IL.
“I think now when the phone rings now they’re probably saying, ‘Finnegan,’” Martinez joked.