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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez talks Kyle Schwarber knee issue; Victor Robles and his swing + more...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability before and after the finale with the Braves...

Schwarber Sits With Sore Knee, Not That Knee Though:

Kyle Schwarber tore the ACL in his left knee in an outfield collision just two games into his second big league season in 2016, but made an unexpected and triumphant return in time for the World Series that year. Schwarber went 7 for 17 in the 2016 Fall Classic, helping the Chicago Cubs end their 108-year World Series drought.

On Wednesday night in Atlanta it was a collision with the warning track that took Schwarber out of the lineup. He dove for what ended up being a ground-rule double down the line and landed hard. He tried to stay in afterwards, but took himself out of the game when he felt like it locked up on him. It was the right knee this time.

“He felt like he couldn’t run,” manager Davey Martinez said after the Nationals’ win over the Braves. “He came out of the game, they examined him, he said he feels pretty good. But we’ll — he got treatment, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. He’s walking normal right now, he said it doesn’t feel that bad, but we’ll see if it swells up overnight.”

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Schwarber was not penciled into the Nationals’ lineup for the finale with the Braves, though he told Martinez he could pinch hit if needed in Thursday’s game.

“He’s going to be — he’s a little bit sore, but he’s available to pinch hit,” Martinez said before the fourth of four in Truist Park.

“He’s getting treatment right now. So, we’ll just keep an eye on him and see, but he said he feels like he could probably pinch hit, we’re going to try to stay away from him playing the outfield today.”

Luckily for the outfielder, it was the right knee this time, and not another issue with the left.

“This is his right knee,” Martinez said before the finale. “And he kind of — he hit the ground pretty hard yesterday and it locked up on him and he said, ‘I didn’t feel like I could run.’ That’s why he took himself out of the game. He left here walking pretty normal.

“He came in this morning, I saw him and I talked to him for a minute. He said he’s still a little tender, a little sore, so we just opted not to play him today. And I told him, I said, ‘Hey, get your treatment, if you’re good enough to pinch hit —,’ and I couldn’t even get the words out.

“And he said, ‘I’m pinch hitting if you need me.’ I said, ‘Well, we’re keeping you out of the outfield today, but yeah, if you’re good enough to pinch hit if we need you, then just be available.”

Schwarber didn’t end up playing in the 5-1 loss on Thursday.

“He took some swings,” Martinez said. “He still felt pretty stiff, but he took some swings in the cage in case he had to pinch hit, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. He’s going to get another round of treatment right now, probably get some more tomorrow, and then we’ll see how he feels.”

Victor Victor Victor:

After missing 10 games on the IL with a right ankle sprain, Victor Robles returned to the lineup in Atlanta and went 0 for 8 with a walk and three Ks in the first three back before yesterday’s series finale in Truist Park.

Though he was held hitless in a pinch hit appearance and two starts, Robles did strike a few balls well, including one which was inches from being a home run on Wednesday, and his manager said on Thursday that he liked what he’d seen from his 24-year-old outfielder at the plate.

“He’s been good,” Martinez said. “He’s been good. He just missed a home run yesterday. He’s really working on trying to stay on top of the ball. He’s hit some balls hard. I think his approach — and he’s working good counts — his approach has been really good. Especially, like I said, he’s missed some time on the IL, and he comes back, and I know he was working in the cage when he can to hit with [Hitting Coach Kevin Long] and they were talking a lot about being on time for the fastball, but he’s had some good swings, so I like his at bats right now.”

MLB: Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The fourth-year skipper also said he liked Robles’s approach in the at bats, in addition to the swings, with the young star seeing a lot of pitches if not connecting for hits.

“It’s tough, when he went on the IL he actually was swinging the bat really well,” Martinez said, “and he was really fighting, thought he’d be okay, but in his position, he plays center field the biggest part of his game is his speed, we need to make sure that he was going to get that ankle right, but like I said, right now he’s fouling balls off that he was hitting before he went on the IL, but he’s having good swings, so I think now it’s just a matter that his timing is getting where it needs to be and he’ll start putting those balls in play. But he’s doing really well. He’s staying on the ball.

“The biggest thing is he’s staying on the ball and he’s seeing the slider a lot better, which, they throw a lot of sliders away to him and he was swinging and missing.

“Now he’s seeing those balls way better than he has been so it’s helping him a lot.”

Robles went 0 for 3 with a walk and two Ks in the fourth of four with the Braves.

Sunday Starter Still TBD:

It’s going to be Max Scherzer and Joe Ross in the first two of three with the Phillies in CBP this weekend, but the starter for Sunday’s game was still TBD as of Thursday morning.

Davey Martinez did, at least, rule one pitcher out when he was asked if he’d picked a starter for the finale in Philly.

“We’re still talking through it,” he said. “I mean, we’re going to figure out. We got a day off on Monday. It can possibly be a bullpen day. But we’ll figure it out when it comes. I can tell you now that [Erick] Fedde will not pitch on Sunday. Even though we thought about if everything goes well, he could possibly come back and pitch in the bullpen because that would be his side day, but we’ll see how he feels today.”

Fedde went out to start at High-A Wilmington on Thursday, in his first appearance since he tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed on the COVID-IL while the team was in Wrigley Field on the last road trip.

The plan was to send him out and get him some work, before the 28-year-old right-hander returned to the major league roster.

“Fedde is going to go down and hopefully the weather permits him to go out there and get five innings in. That was the plan, so we’ll see what happens today.”

How did it go for Fedde?