The availability of the DH spot in Interleague play allowed Davey Martinez to get both Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Bell in the Washington Nationals’ lineup last night, for the first of two with the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, FL’s TD Ballpark.
“I’m definitely excited to see both of them in the lineup,” Martinez said before the 9-5 loss, in which Zimmerman was 1 for 3 with a walk and a two-run home run, while Bell was 0 for 4 with two Ks.
“I just want - the way our lineup matches up going right, left, right, switch-hitter, left, I kind of like that as well.
“I wanted Zim to play, we got a left-handed pitcher [Wednesday] in [Steven] Matz, so hopefully Zim makes it through today, he’ll play tomorrow.
“I might switch it around where Zim DHs tomorrow and Bell plays first base, but I wanted Zim to get out there and play some first base today and get him going.”
Zimmerman had just one pinch hit appearances in the previous seven days, but he stepped back in and hit his third home run in 39 plate appearances early this season.
“Zim had a good day today, hit the ball hard, drove in a couple runs for us,” Martinez said.
The other runs came on solo home runs by Trea Turner (2) and Yadiel Hernández,
“Trea had a good day and Yadi had a good day. So, we just got to get that middle of our lineup going.”
Bell, in particular, continues to struggle at the plate, with his 0 for 4 leaving him 0 for 17 over the last five games, though he still has his manager’s support.
“I got all the confidence in the world in Josh Bell,” Martinez told reporters after the game.
“It’s just early. He’s only got I think about 40 at bats or so,” he added. “So once it clicks, we’ll get him going, he gets on a roll, I’ve seen this guy carry his team for a month or two. So he’ll get on that roll and start helping us win ballgames.”
Bell said he feels like he’s still getting there, and he’s been though similar stretches in the past and managed to come out of it after putting in hard work to get things synced up.
“I feel like the work days have gone well,” Bell said last night. “At times I’m kind of ticked off at my pitch selection, maybe trying to do just a little too much in certain scenarios, but I feel like in regards to like my move and my work day, things are really close, so all it takes is one hit and the flood gates can open up and I can start having more and more consistent, good at bats.”
“I feel like when I look at my at bats, I’m like, okay, this is the pitch where the at bat should have been over,” Bell explained, “and I should have driven that ball. Instead, it’s a foul ball and I’m still up there trying to grind, trying to figure things out.
“When thing are going right it’s like okay, mistake pitch or ball in my zone, at bat’s over.”
The Nationals are counting on Bell sorting it out sooner than later. Meanwhile, they can get him and Zimmerman in the lineup once more in the second of two under AL rules tonight.