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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Erick Fedde & Tanner Rainey in Chicago; Stephen Strasburg in D.C. + more

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s press availability on Friday afternoon...

Fedde and Rainey Stuck in Chicago:

Erick Fedde tested positive for COVID-19 this week, and Nationals’ reliever Tanner Rainey was identified through contact tracing as having been in close contact with Fedde on the road trip, so both went on the COVID-IL while the Washington Nationals were in Chicago.

And while the team flew back to D.C. after Thursday’s series finale in Wrigley Field, Fedde and Rainey were forced to stay behind in quarantine until they’re cleared to travel.

“They are still in quarantine in Chicago,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez confirmed before the series opener with the Baltimore Orioles in the nation’s capital on Friday afternoon.

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

“I know — like I said, we got to follow MLB protocols, but hopefully we can get them back here soon.”

How will they get out of quarantine and get back to Washington?

“Right now they got to run some tests, they got to test negative,” Martinez explained.

“So we’re still waiting to hear back from MLB on when they’re able to join us back here, or how they’re able to join us back here.”

The good news on Friday, there were no new positives for the club, so hopefully any spread was contained.

“Everybody has tested negative,” Martinez said, “and we all had to get tested again today.

“We came back last night and we all had to get tested again today.”

Robles Not Ready To Return:

Victor Robles rolled his ankle rounding first in Wrigley Field, and though he stayed in for a while after the injury, the right ankle swelled as the game went on and he was lifted out of an abundance of caution, and sent for X-rays, which were negative.

Andrew Stevenson replaced Robles in center in the lineup in the finale with Chicago on Thursday, and he was penciled in again for the series opener with the Baltimore Orioles.

As for an update on Robles?

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s still day-to-day,” Martinez said before Friday’s game. “So Stevie will be in there.”

Asked if there were any additional tests, read: an MRI, done, Martinez said that they had sent Robles for another look.

“He went to go get an MRI today,” Martinez explained. “We’re waiting on the results, as the day progressed yesterday, he was sore, so we wanted to make sure we got an MRI today.”

We’re Getting The Band Back Together:

Going into and coming out of Spring Training, the plan was for a five-man rotation in D.C. that featured Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Jon Lester, and Joe Ross, who’d won a fifth starter battle in West Palm Beach to claim the final spot. Unfortunately, Corbin and Lester got caught up in the COVID outbreak at the start of the season, and it took a while for Lester, who also had surgery to remove one of four parathyroid glands a while to get back, and Strasburg went on the IL after two starts with inflammation in his right shoulder, so it took until the third week of May to get all five in the rotation at once.

Strasburg’s return last night was the final piece.

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

“It feels great,” Martinez said before the first of three with the O’s in D.C. “Every day we’ve got a chance to go out there and compete and go 1-0. So, but the guys — I want to commend the guys that had to fill in. They’ve done a great job. For me, now we get these guys back, some other guys have a different role, they understand, and they’ll be ready when they’re called upon.”

Barring any setbacks or hiccups, the Nats’ skipper will be able to run out the rotation he and GM Mike Rizzo put together for the 2021 campaign.

“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “We finally got all our guys back that we anticipated we’d have come April 1st. So, today is going to be a good day, not only for Stephen Strasburg, but as you know, we get more fans in the stands today, so we’re all excited about that as well. It’s going to be a good night tonight, so let’s go 1-0 today.”

Narrator: They did.

Strasburg? Chirpy? Get Out Of Here...:

Davey Martinez was excited to send Stephen Strasburg out for his third start of the 2021 campaign, after the 32-year-old right-hander spent a month-plus on the IL with shoulder inflammation in his throwing arm. Strasburg, obviously, was very excited too.

Strasburg made a total of two starts total in 2020’s 60-game campaign, before surgery for carpal tunnel neuritis ended his season prematurely, so a shoulder issue at the start of this season was particularly frustrating.

“We get him back today and I talked to him,” Martinez said, “... we want him to just get as many outs as he possibly can for as long as he can and then we’ll go from there.

“He’s excited to be back, I know that. He was chirpy yesterday, so I’m looking forward to watching him pitch today.”

Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

I’m sorry: Chirpy? We’re talking about Stephen Strasburg, right?

“Yeah, he was chirpy yesterday, little smile on his face. That only tells me that he’s excited to be pitching today.”

Was that... concerning? A “cheerful and lively” Strasburg? That’s just... that’s ... weird, right?

“He’s been frustrated,” Martinez said.

“He wanted to come out this year and get off to a good start, and unfortunately it’s got sidetracked a little bit, but like I said, he’s ready, he feels ready, and it’s good to have him back today.”

Strasburg threw 5 13 scoreless in his return.

How did Martinez feel watching him? Nervous? Tense?

“All of the above. You want him to get through it, You want him to have a great outing. But the biggest thing is to make sure he comes out healthy. I spoke to him, he said his shoulder feels good, he feels good, so that for us was a great first outing for him back. I’m so proud of him, because like I said, I now he’s been a little frustrated, he wanted to come out this year and start off well, but we got him back. And that’s great for us.”