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Washington Nationals news and notes: Davey Martinez on sim game for Stephen Strasburg & Wander Suero + more...

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

Sim Game For Wander and Stras:

The Washington Nationals got Juan Soto (sort of) back on Tuesday night, getting the club one step closer to the roster they envisioned when they left West Palm Beach, FL this year, and there was more good news from manager Davey Martinez when he spoke before the second of three with the Atlanta Braves in D.C. on Wednesday afternoon.

Martinez was asked if there was any update on Stephen Strasburg, who went on the 10-Day IL with inflammation in his right shoulder back on April 18th, retroactive to 4/15.

“He’s going to throw — [Strasburg] and [Wander] Suero are both going to throw a little sim game tomorrow. They’re going to face some hitters tomorrow. So that’s good news for us.

St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Suero went on the IL on 4/18 as well, with a left oblique strain.

“They’re both feeling a lot better,” Martinez said. “The progression is going fine, so we’ll get through tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”

The plan for each pitcher? How many innings, or pitches, will they throw?

“We’re going to go by pitches,” Martinez explained. “[Strasburg is] going to throw 35-40 pitches and we’ll go from there.”

And Suero? “It’s going to be a little lighter. Probably around 20-25. We just want to get him through probably four hitters, and then we’ll go from there.”

Suero’s going to be throwing 100% according to his manager.

“He’s going to go out there and I told him, ‘Let’s see what you got,’” Martinez said. “But only he can determine that. Yesterday he said he felt really, really good, so he was throwing the ball about 90% yesterday off the mound, so hopefully tomorrow it’s about the same thing.”

The next step if all goes well for both pitchers in the sim game? Will they head out for rehab assignments (which would require a trip to Triple-A Rochester this season under continuing COVID protocols, instead of a closer affiliate)?

“As long as we’re home, it’s easier for us to see them,” Martinez said.

“We’ll have to make a decision, as you know, we leave after the game tomorrow, so we’ll make a decision on what the process is next for them.

“Whether they go with us or they stay back here until they’re ready to go on a rehab assignment if they’re going to go on a rehab assignment.

“So we’ll decide that when the time comes, but I’m pretty pleased that they’re both doing well and they’re both going to face hitters tomorrow.”

Mercer, Mercer, Me:

Jordy Mercer got a start at second base last night. He’s likely to get more opportunities now that the Nationals DFA’d Hernán Pérez in a series of roster moves made to get Juan Soto and Will Harris back off the IL on Tuesday.

How will Mercer’s role change now that Pérez is off the 26-man roster?

“He understands his role yeah, but we’ll plop him in when we deem necessary,” the skipper said. “But he’s an unbelievable guy to have, one, because he plays — his defense all around the infield whether it’s third base, shortstop, second base, first base, is really good, and like I said earlier the fact that we have Josh Harrison that can play everywhere on the field,” the manager added, “... except catch, which I haven’t asked him to do yet, but he’s good.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

“He’s adequate in everything he does, so today [Harrison is] playing right field.”

More importantly, with Soto and Harris back, and Strasburg and Suero taking another step, Martinez’s club is getting closer to whole, though the manager appreciates the effort from the players who have been doing the job over the last few weeks.

“The good thing is that we’re getting healthy, and before you know it we’ll have all our guys back. And I’ve said this before, I’m so proud of the way these guys have stuck together. It was easy to fall apart early on, but these guys pull for one another each day, we go about our business.

“We have a lot of fun doing it. We just got to keep playing hard every day and try to go 1-0 today, and go from there.”

“It won’t be long before we get Soto back in the lineup, and in right field, and get Strasburg back, get Suero back, so we’re excited about that, but for the 26 guys that we’re using right now, they’re playing really well and doing really well.”

Starters vs Yankees:

Davey Martinez also announced his starters for this weekend’s three-game series with the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium.

“[Max Scherzer] will pitch Saturday. [Patrick] Corbin will pitch on Friday. And then back to [Joe] Ross on Sunday.”

Washington Nationals v New York Yankees Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images

How will he handle the DH for that series, which will be played under AL rules? Will Soto be the DH? Ryan Zimmerman or Josh Bell depending on who plays first?

“[Zimmerman] is going to play tonight,” Martinez said before the second of three with the Braves in D.C. on Wednesday, “... and then we’ll see how he feels tomorrow and the next few days. I know when we got to New York they’ve got three righties pitching against us. But we’ll see. I can tell you, if for some reason Soto says he feels a lot better, it would be nice to get him in right field, because then you could actually play Bell and Zim in a couple of those games. But we’ll have to see how Soto feels.”