Coming off of his grand slam in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale with the Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals’ slugger Josh Bell was looking forward to seeing four right-handers in a row in the four-game set with the Miami Marlins this weekend. Bell, 28, told reporters on a post game Zoom call after the second straight win in Citizens Bank Park he was eager to get back up at the plate after connecting for hits in six of seven games, and going 8 for 24 with a double, two home runs, four walks, and four strikeouts over 28 plate appearances in that stretch.
“I feel like we have quite a few righty starters lined up with the Marlins,” Bell said, “so I’m going to get my at bats and hopefully I can continue to do damage.”
Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez said before the first of four with the Fish that he thought the faith he showed in Bell during his slow start to the season was paying off as he hoped it would.
“I wanted to make sure that he understood that I had all the confidence in the world in him,” Martinez said, “and I know that he was going to get out of the little funk that he was in, and he did. And now that we’re in the middle of the season, he’s helping us win ballgames, and he’s playing really well.”
Bell went 11 for 83 (.133/.198/.289) with four doubles, three home runs, six walks, and 28 Ks in 23 games and 91 PAs to start the season, but started to turn things around in mid-May, and going into the series with the Marlins, he was 34 for 115, for a .298/.360/.544, line, with seven doubles, seven home runs, 11 walks, and 26 Ks in 35 games and 125 PAs going back to May 13th.
Martinez penciled the slugger into his lineup for the series opener with the Fish, but had to scratch the first baseman shortly before the scheduled start time.
“He came in today and his right side was bothering him,” Martinez explained after the 7-3 win in the opener. “So, I didn’t want to take any chances.
“He’s going to go get an MRI tomorrow. I talked to him a little while ago, he said he doesn’t feel anything right now, but we want to get him an MRI and see what’s going on.”
The fourth-year skipper said it was just general soreness, but, “... when you’re talking about the oblique area, I want to be cautious, especially with him.”
The word from Bell came as a surprise for his manager.
“It was a surprise,” Martinez said. “I mean, he said he didn’t feel anything yesterday, came in today, tried to take a couple swings, and he said it just acted up on him, he’s had an oblique [injury] before, and he came and talked to me about it, and I told him, I said, ‘Hey, let’s be smart about it. That’s why we have [Ryan Zimmerman], and we’ll get you an MRI as soon as we possibly can,’ which is tomorrow morning, and then we’ll go from there.”
Morning apparently turned into afternoon, because when Martinez spoke to reporters late on Friday, the team didn’t have results to share at that point.
“He’s getting an MRI right now,” Martinez around 4:49 PM. “We’re waiting to hear. He’s actually in right now getting his MRI.”
“He said he feels about the same. It’s not bad, it’s not horrible, but it’s there, but hopefully we’ll see what happens when he gets this MRI result back.”
After the game, an 11-2 loss, Martinez said they got the results.
“It came back clean,” the manager said. “He actually hit today, you saw him, he was on deck to pinch hit today, get him an at bat, but he’ll be in there tomorrow.”