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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on positive COVID test; Will Harris struggling...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s pregame Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday...

COVID News:

Davey Martinez announced before last night’s game that one member of the Washington Nationals’ roster tested positive for COVID-19, and another player was identified, through contact tracing, as having been in close contact with the positive player.

No names were announced initially, but shortly after Martinez’s statement, Erick Fedde and Tanner Rainey were both placed on the Injured List.

The club is still in Chicago for the series with the Cubs in Wrigley Field, but they were just out in Arizona for three with the Diamondbacks over the weekend, so after learning about the positive test, they were in contact with both teams.

“Our staff has talked to [the Cubs],” Martinez said, “let them know what’s going on, we got to make sure that our players weren’t in contact with their players, but everything seems to be good in that aspect.”

As for the D-backs?

“He tested on Monday, so we’ll go back. I know our medical staff is going to go back and definitely have conversations with the Diamondbacks and make sure that none of those guys have tested positive, which, as of right now nothing has happened, so then we’ll go from there,” he explained.

“They’ve done their contact tracing so far, we deemed one guy in close contact, and that’s all we have right now.”

Since the Nationals’ player who tested positive had been vaccinated, and the player who was identified through contact tracing had not, it may end up that the player who tested positive will end up returning first.

“That player can come back sooner,” Martinez said of the one who tested positive. “I think he’s got to go through a multitude of tests, and test negative before he can come back, so like I said, we’re going to follow all protocols, major league protocols, and then as soon as we can get him back we will.”

And the player who hadn’t been vaccinated?

“He’s got to go through quarantine and he’ll miss I think it’s up to 10 days.”

Will Harris Hard On Himself:

Will Harris gave up two hits, a walk, and two earned runs in 23 of an inning in Tuesday’s game in Wrigley Field, and the veteran reliever pulled no punches when offering a take afterwards on his own outing.

“It’s hard to decode what’s what,” Harris said. “I know tonight my stuff was probably the worst it’s ever been in my career.

“And you know, to have the outcome that I had, wasn’t a surprise I guess for the way that I was pitching. Could have had good fortune, he could have popped it up, that’s the game that we play, right. You can go out there with C stuff and still get the job done, which I expected to do, but that wasn’t the case.”

Harris, whose issues with inflammation in his right hand kept him off the mound this spring, has now made six appearances since returning to the bullpen, with mixed results, but he is, his manager said on Wednesday, always critical of himself.

Martinez said he was going to talk to Harris and get an idea of what’s going on.

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

“We’re going to sit down after this meeting here and I’m going to talk to him. His cutter was kind of flat yesterday, and we noticed that.

“I thought he threw better curveballs. Will is very critical about his stuff in his outings, but I thought his curveball was pretty good. But I’ll go back and talk to him.

“My concern is his health, as it’s always been, so I’ll sit down and talk to him today and see how he’s actually feeling today and go from there.”

Asked if there was any concern that Harris’s struggles are tied to the still undiagnosed hand issue, Martinez said that he didn’t think it was the case for the reliever, who’s built up slowly since returning and just made his first back-to-back appearances over the weekend.

“I think it’s more of a day-to-day thing with him. Before the game he felt great. [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey spoke to him and he said he felt really, really good. After his back-to-back days, the next day, he said he felt really, really good as well.

“I think we’re just going to have to monitor him, keep an eye on him and continue to have these conversations with him.”