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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Luis García; Victor Robles; Will Harris + more...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability on Tuesday afternoon, all gathered together in way too long an article this time around... seriously, this could have been like three stories. Who’s in charge of content management?

Luis García Up With Victor Robles Out:

The decision to place Victor Robles on the 10-Day IL this past Sunday (5/23), retroactive to last Thursday (5/20), was made too close to the start time of the finale with the Orioles, so the Nationals weren’t able to call anyone up to take Robles’s spot on the roster.

Washington’s ballclub played short-handed in their win over Baltimore, which completed a three-game sweep, and after a day off on Monday, they made a corresponding move.

Robles’s right ankle sprain provided an opportunity for Luis García, the 21-year-old infielder, to come back up to the majors after he played a few games in the big leagues earlier in the season.

García put up a .235/.293/.426 line, with a double, and four home runs in his 17 games and 75 plate appearances at Triple-A Rochester before he got the call to return yesterday.

“We like the way he’s been playing, his left-handed bat,” Davey Martinez said, in explaining the decision to make García the choice.

“We can do other things — like I said, with [Josh] Harrison, if we need to, as far as putting him in center field and giving [Andrew] Stevenson [a break] — so we’ll look at all this stuff, but he’s been playing well, he’s hit a few home runs down there, so that’s how we decided to go.”

New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game Two Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

“Our pitching, our bullpen has been pretty good, with that day off,” he continued.

“We thought about bringing up another arm, but I feel pretty good about where we’re at in our bullpen right now.”

Martinez said the reports from the Rochester Red Wings’ skipper on García were all positive.

“He’s doing well. Like I said, part of his growing up is maturity, and learning how to play the game every day up here at the big league level. But he’s done well. [Red Wings’ manager] Matt Lecroy has got him. I talked to Matt, he said he’s done well, he’s limiting the mental mistakes a lot down there, and he’s playing really well. He said his defense actually has been really good as well. Making all the routine plays, which is always important and working good at bats, so I’m going to try, as long as he’s here, pick a day or two or three to see if we can’t stick him in there, I just don’t want him to sit here as well, because like I said, he is swinging the bat well, so we’ll figure out some days we can play him, and if not he understands, I talked to him, I said, ‘Hey, you got to be readily available to come off the bench either to play defense or to pinch hit as well, so he’s just another bat. As you know, some of these games the last few days we could have used another hitter earlier in the game, so that could possibly happen, hopefully not, but like I said, you never know.”

Other Related Questions & Answers:

Backdating the start of Robles’s IL stint could allow him to return as soon as this coming weekend, when the Nationals play the Brewers in a three-game set, and Martinez said it would be ideal if he can come back as soon as possible, though they won’t push him till they know he’s ready to return.

“Right now, like I said, he’s progressing pretty good. I don’t want to come out and say that — hopefully he comes back when he’s supposed to, but it still remains to be seen. But I just want to make sure that when he does come back, that he’s ready. He plays an important position for us out in the outfield, he’s the guy that controls center field for us, so we want to make sure that when he’s back out there, the short stops, the cuts, everything else doesn’t hamper him, so we want to make sure that when he comes back he’s going to do all those things before we deem him ready.”

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Was there any consideration given to bringing Carter Kieboom up, after the 23-year-old, the expected everyday third baseman going into Spring Training, struggled at the plate and got sent down to Triple-A before Opening Day? Kieboom got two games in when COVID hit the Nationals’ roster before the season opener, but he’s been with Rochester since, putting up a .190/.358/.262 line in 13 games and 53 PAs through Sunday’s action.

“We thought about Carter as well,” Martinez said, “... but like I said, I really thought Garcia could help us, not only just playing, but also off the bench as well. And also too, he also can play shortstop fairly well. So, to have him here, just in case we need someone or if we want to spell — even though we have Jordy [Mercer] — if we wanted to spell Trea, we could do that as well. So, I mean, and for me it’s about also putting eyes on him because he’s done well and he’s a very important part of our future, and see where he’s at. And it’s kind of nice to get him out here and get him working with [Bench Coach Tim Bogar].

“And like I said, we’ll get him in some games here soon.”

Welcome Back, Doo!!!:

We’re including the video of Sean Doolittle’s thank you celebration from before last night’s game, in case you missed it last night, but we’re not responsible if you experience feels for a few minutes.

Davey Martinez talked before the game about getting to see Doolittle again, now that he and the Reds are in D.C. this week.

“I haven’t spoken to him yet,” Martinez said before Tuesday’s game, “but I’m sure I’m going to end up giving him a hug here today, at some point, so I can’t wait to see him. As you all know, he was a very important part of this ballclub, but also of this city, he did so many wonderful things for this city. We miss him. I’m glad he’s doing well. But I can’t wait to see him.”

What made Doolittle such a unique presence in the clubhouse and out in the community during his time in the nation’s capital?

“He was definitely one of our vocal guys,” Martinez said, which, yeah, not surprising for anyone who ever talked to or interviewed Doolittle. [ed. note - “Doolittle likes to talk.”]

“But always competing constantly,” the manager added, “I mean, here’s a guy that went out there and did everything he can to help us win. He was our closer for many years. But what I love about him is that he was a guy that I leaned towards to speak to the group when need be, and he voiced his opinion, and he was really good at it. When he spoke everyone seemed to listen as well. He’s one of those kind of Zim guys where — but he was always good to have around, he had such a unique personality, and he was always there for his teammates, wanted his teammates to do well, and was like having an extra coach sometimes when it came to that bullpen.”

Quick Hits:

Are Erick Fedde and Tanner Rainey, who both ended up on the COVID-IL during the last road trip, with Fedde testing positive, and Rainey identified through contract tracing as having been in close contact with the starter, out of quarantine in Chicago yet? Last we heard, they were stuck in the Windy City.

“Rainey is here with us,” Martinez said on Tuesday afternoon.

“He got cleared. He’s going to throw a bullpen today and then we’ll see where he’s at.

“Fedde will be cleared here in the next few days, and then we’ll have to see where he’s at as well. I’m more concerned with Fedde, because he’s missed some time.

Washington Nationals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

“We’ll see where he’s at, but he might have to go and throw at Rochester in order to get him back in that routine.”

Fedde is out of Chicago though.

“Fedde was able to make it back to D.C.,” Martinez told reporters. “And like I said, he’s still in quarantine, and we’ll know something as soon as we possibly can.”

How about Will Harris, who went on the IL on Sunday as well, so he could go see a specialist who will hopefully be able to diagnose the issue causing swelling in his right hand when he is pitching? Has he headed out to see the specialist yet? If not, when will he go?

“As of right now I do not know,” Martinez said, “... but it definitely will be some time this week, as soon as I find out I’ll let you know more, but yeah, I’m hoping that it’s soon. We really want to know what’s going on and for his benefit and for ours.”