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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Tanner Rainey; Erick Fedde + 2021 so far...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability on Thursday afternoon...

Just Wondering About This One:

So, when the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds started play on Wednesday night, Nats’ reliever Tanner Rainey was not on the lineup card, since he was still on the COVID-IL, though he’d been cleared to play. Rainey landed on the list after he was identified, through contact tracing, as having been in close proximity to Erick Fedde, who tested positive and landed in quarantine (and on the IL as well, obviously).

Rainey was, however, reinstated before they resumed play in the suspended game Thursday afternoon, after rain shut things down in the middle of the fourth on Wednesday. So how ... does that work exactly? Someone not on the lineup card to start the game being available a day later when it started back up?

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

“Yeah, because he was cleared by MLB and by CDC,” Martinez sort of explained.

“Once you get cleared then — as I said, we wanted to see him throw a bullpen, and we deemed he’s ready to go, so he’ll be activated today, so there’s no real logistics...

“We cleared everything with MLB, because he was on the COVID-IL, he can get reinstated whenever.”

Right, a reporter noted, but he wasn’t on the lineup card to start the game, so they were just wondering...

“It’s because it’s a COVID-IL,” Martinez said. [ed. note - “We’re still googling around to see if we can find the rules that govern this sort of roster movement.”]

Rainey got in the game in the eighth on Thursday afternoon and struggled to command his fastball...

Speaking Of Fedde + Another Six-Man Rotation Comment:

Davey Martinez also announced on Thursday afternoon that Erick Fedde had been cleared to return to the team as well. He was asked what the plan was for the starter, who was out for 11 days at the point the manager was talking.

“We don’t know,” he said of the plan for Fedde going forward. “The good news is Fedde got cleared to participate on Friday, so as of right now we’ve got to come up with a plan. He’s missed some time. We got to get him stretched back out, so with that being said, we got to figure out a good game plan for him to keep him healthy. So we’ll sit down, I’ll sit down with [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey probably in the next day or so and figure out a definitive [plan] and see where we’re at.”

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

How will they sort things out once Fedde’s ready to return, since he’s been part of the mix in the rotation, after initially making the roster as part of the bullpen before he was pressed into action as a starter at the start of the season. Will Fedde move back to the bullpen? Will Ross move?

“We’ll have to see what Fedde does,” Martinez said. “If Fedde comes back and we deem that he’s back and we can use him out of the bullpen to kind of keep him stretched out and get him going again, we can do that. The big component about that is Joe. We got to remember that Joe didn’t pitch all of last year, and we can control his innings a little bit. So if we had to start Fedde and do something with Joe just to control some of his innings, we can do that as well. Also too, with Stephen [Strasburg], being that he missed all last year and got hurt, we can also go to a six-man rotation. We’re looking at all that stuff right now.

“I know we got a bunch of days off coming up again, a bunch, but we’re going to take a look at all that stuff, and see what the best scenario is for our starting rotation and then go from there.”

Ross had a short start on Wednesday, because of the rain and eventual suspension of play, but Martinez said they would keep him on schedule and plan on him starting again the next time his turn in the rotation comes around.

“Absolutely,” the manager said. “No doubt about it. Especially with Joe and his history. Even though he feels great, we’ve got to be conscious of what he went through the last few years. And the fact that he didn’t pitch all of last year. We’re definitely aware of the situation and we want to make sure that we can get the most out of him but yet keep him healthy for the season.”

Almost 50 ... Games Played:

Martinez was also asked, generally, about the positive developments he’s seen this season as the club approaches 50 games played in the 162-game season. We’ll just leave you with his lengthy answer:

“For me, it’s we started off possibly the worst that we could probably start off because of the COVID issue,” Martinez said.

Nationals Park Media Tour Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

“The fact that these guys have stuck together, and they’ve played really hard — we’ve been in most of these games if not all of them, except for a few, and that’s a testament to these guys and how hard they play and how hard they’re working, so we’re stating to gel a little bit. We’re starting to play better. Everything. Our defense has been good, our big boys in the middle of our lineup are starting to hit the ball better. So right now it’s just about consistency, and what I always say is to bring that every day. Our pitching has done well. Like I said, Joe yesterday was pitching really well, he kept us in the ballgame, so it’s about consistency, and also hitting with runners on base. We definitely have to get better at that. We’re hitting for average. I think we’re in the tops in the league, which doesn’t really say much, but we are hitting, so we just got to continue to do the little things, and I think we’re going to be in good shape. I really do. As you know, our division, nobody has really taken off, so it’s getting warmer, we got a lot of guys that play really well during the warmth, so we just got to continue to go and go 1-0 every day. I tell these guys focus on today and don’t worry about anything else.

“You can’t do nothing about the past, can’t do nothing, just focus on today and try to help us win today.”