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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Jakson Reetz debuting; Max Scherzer, All-Star + more...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s daily media availability on Saturday afternoon...

J-A-K-S-O-N [DING!]:

When Davey Martinez spoke to reporters on Saturday afternoon, he didn’t have definitive word on the results for Yan Gomes, after the catcher, who tweaked his left oblique in the series opener on Friday night, went for an MRI in San Francisco.

“We have nothing yet. He’s getting an MRI as we speak. So hopefully he gets back here soon and we’ll know something after the game,” the manager explained.

As for a replacement on the roster, since it seemed likely Gomes would at the very least not play on Saturday, Washington’s fourth-year skipper acknowledged that the Nationals had an option on the way to join them in Oracle Park.

“We have someone on the way,” he said, though it was a question of, “... whether he makes it before game time. So we can’t really announce anything until then.”

Less than a half an hour before the first pitch of the second of three with the Giants, they made the announcement:

Jakson Reetz, 25, is a 2014 third round pick by the Nationals out of Norris High School in Firth, Nebraska, who has put up a .215/.342/.354 line with 12 doubles and two home runs in 38 games and 155 plate appearances between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Rochester in 2021, though he was 0 for 10 with five Ks in three games since being moved up to Triple-A recently.

Nationals’ Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Scouting Operations was really excited that Reetz was around for the Nationals to draft when they did in ‘14.

“This is a high school catcher that we love,” Kline said that June. “Power bat. He’s got a really good feel to hit. Catching skills are probably along the lines, maybe a tick better than Derek Norris at the same time.

“So we feel that we have the right people to help him progress in that area. I think that you’re looking at an offensive catcher at the big league level down the road.”

Reetz hit 85 doubles and 29 home runs in 433 minor league games. He now has one double in one major league game.

Given a pinch hit appearance in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game, Reetz lined a slider from reliever John Brebbia to right-center field for a two-base hit, and he scored a run in what ended up a 10-4 loss to the Giants.

“It’s awesome for him,” Martinez said after the game. “He gets on a plane, we didn’t get him until the game started, he came out to the dugout, saw him, and it was the perfect opportunity just to give him an at bat, and hit a rocket into right field, which was awesome, a double, so congratulations to him and his family, but that’s the start for him.”

The post game update on Yan Gomes?

“He’s got an oblique strain,” Martinez said, “so he’s going to be — as you know, he’s on the IL now, so I mean, this is — like I said, those oblique strains, you don’t know how long it’s going to take. So hopefully we’ll get him back. I know right now, it’s the perfect opportunity for him, it stinks that he’s hurt, but we have the All-Star break, he’ll rest, and then we’ll start rehabbing him when he gets back.”

2021 MLB Draft Day:

Davey Martinez told reporters on Saturday that he’s excited about this year’s draft, and the talent the Nationals are about to add to their organization over the next three days.

“These guys work diligently,” he said of the scouting staff that’s been hard at work since the end of last year’s draft preparing for this year’s selections. “Not just — they do it all year long trying to figure out what’s the best fit for this organization, but it’s exciting, you get some fresh new kids that are going to join our organization. Excited for them, excited for us, we get to watch them develop, we have some pretty good ones now developing in the minor leagues, so just adding on some young guys that could possibly help us here in the big leagues in the near future.”

How closely will he follow the process?

“I’ll watch,” the fourth-year skipper said. “I’ll be on Zoom and see what’s going on, see what the first few rounds are like, but like I said, these guys have done their due diligence. They got an idea who we want, just like any other club, it’s a chess match to see who picks who before we do, but we’ve got a nice board going right now.”

The Nationals have the 11th overall pick in the first round when the draft starts tonight.

Max “Eight-Time All-Star” Scherzer:

He should have been part of the initial All-Star roster for the National League, but we’ll get over that eventually, and in the end, Max Scherzer is going to Colorado to take part in this year’s All-Star Game in Denver’s Coors Field.

“It’s awesome,” Martinez said of Scherzer’s eighth All-Star selection. “I’m happy for Max, and like I said before. I thought he deserved to go, he’s getting an opportunity to go, and another player gets to represent us again, which is pretty awesome, we have four guys on the All-Star team, so congratulations to Max and his family, we’re all excited for him.”

Scherzer, even the eighth time, was still thrilled to have the opportunity to play in another Midsummer Classic.

“Just excited. Awesome. Eighth time, it’s a heck of an accomplishment,” the three-time Cy Young award-winner said.

“You’re always so excited, whether it’s your first one or your eighth one, it’s such an honor to be named an All-Star.

“It takes a lot of work, a lot of thanks to everyone here in the Nationals’ organization for working their butts off for me to go there. Just proud to be able to represent the Nationals.”

Does it feel different at 36 years old, after he attended his first All-Star Game as a 27-going-on-28-year-old in 2013.

“Each one kind of has its own story I would say,” Scherzer explained. “Each one of them means something a little bit different each time. Every time you go, and each city has its own unique experiences, and you just try to appreciate each one for what it is and so for me, really excited for this to be the eighth one, it’s a really cool accomplishment for myself, really take pride in that, and going to Denver and really appreciate what the Rockies are going to be able to put on.”

Tres Gets A Shot:

Called up on the 4th of July, after Alex Avila went on the 10-Day IL with bilateral calf strains, Tres Barrera was pressed into service on Saturday night, when Yan Gomes left the game in the second with an oblique injury, and the 26-year-old catcher tripled to drive in two runs in his first plate appearance of the game, connecting for his first extra base hit in the majors, while driving in his first runs. His manager has been impressed with Barrera’s contributions.

MLB: Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s been great,” Martinez said on Saturday, before penciling Barrera in as his starter in the second of three with the Giants. “I often talk about how well he handles himself behind the plate. Especially with our veteran pitchers, our young pitchers, he does a good job. He does his homework before each series. I watched him, we sit and have conversations with him and I really believe he handles our pitching staff really well.”

When he’s prepping for games at this point, and getting to know the staff better, who does Barrera turn to for help? Pitching Coach Jim Hickey? Bullpen Coach Henry Blanco? Or both, really, since that makes sense?

“It’s a mix of both,” Martinez confirmed.

“For the most part when he’s getting an opportunity to start a game and play, we just kind of give him little golden nuggets so that he just goes out there and relaxes. We just want him to relax and to just play the game and have fun.”