Victor Robles was picking up steam, with a .271/.352/.396 on the month in May, and he was in a really good stretch on the Nationals’ road trip (7 for 17, .412/.500/.706 with five doubles over six games in Arizona and Chicago) before he injured his right ankle, rolling it rounding the first base bag on a soggy Wrigley Field infield.
That was on May 19th. Robles went on the 10-Day IL, after trying to avoid it, and was out of the mix for the finale with the Cubs and the Nationals’ entire nine-game homestand.
Before the start of the four-game series with Atlanta last night, the 24-year-old outfielder was reinstated, though manager Davey Martinez did not pencil him into the lineup in last night’s game.
“I want him to go through some outfield drills and stuff like that, but he’ll be available to come off the bench if we need him. He said he felt great,” Martinez told reporters.
If Robles got through his workouts, batting practice, and everything else fine, Martinez said, he would be back in the lineup for tonight’s game.
What did the Nationals miss without Robles available over the last two weeks?
“We always talk about Victor and his energy, I mean, he brings a lot of energy every day, and his defense,” Martinez said.
“We talk about how important his defense is in the middle of the field.
“I’m glad that he’s doing well and that he’s okay and hopefully we get him back in that starting lineup tomorrow.”
And where will Robles hit once he’s back in the lineup? Martinez had him 8th or 9th most of the time before the injury.
“He’ll probably be back in that nine-hole,” the manager said.
“He was doing well down there, before he was hitting the ball fairly well down there. So, we’ll keep him down there for now and hopefully we’ll get him going soon.
“He had some good at bats yesterday. He laid off some good breaking balls, he saw the ball well.
“Like I said, he spent a few days before he left hitting off the velo machine, hitting off the breaking ball machine, so hopefully he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
If Robles picks up where he left off, and continues to show improvement at the plate, is he going to move up at some point? The season started with the outfielder leading off for the Nationals. Will we see that again eventually?
“I want him to have success,” Martinez said. “I want him to get going. Once he gets going and we feel like he’s got some consistency going on, we may try to move him up to that leadoff spot like we did in Spring Training, but for right now, he was doing well in that nine-hole. He was getting on base for the top of the order, so I want to keep him there for now.”
Martinez did what he said.