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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Starlin Castro; third base now; René Rivera signing + more...

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Notes and quotes from Davey Martinez’s pregame presser on Friday afternoon...

Davey Martinez on Starlin Castro/Domestic Violence Allegations:

Most of Friday’s pregame press conference with the Washington Nationals’ manager dealt with the domestic violence allegations which led to Major League Baseball placing Starlin Castro on administrative leave before the club kicked off the second half against the San Diego Padres in the nation’s capital. After discussing his reaction to the news and how things are being handled, Davey Martinez addressed the issue in general, and all the other recent problems around the game with domestic violence when asked for his thoughts.

“I think, one, is that MLB has definitely put their foot down on this situation and they have and they’re really, really trying to hone in on stopping this for whatever reason,” Martinez said. “It’s not just — I don’t really believe it’s just MLB, but because we’re — these players, we’re put in the spotlight, yeah, you see it quite often, but I think it has to be addressed all over our country, all over the world, this happens.”

“It’s awful, it shouldn’t happen, but I’m glad that MLB is really putting their foot down this time.”

With Castro on administrative leave, the Nationals still have to play, and Martinez addressed the team after learning the news, and told them they have to keep going and not let it be a distraction.

“As I talked to the team today, I told them, ‘Hey, obviously this is disturbing news, but we can’t let this deter what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to accomplish, and that’s to win another championship. So we need to stay positive. I told them we’re going to have to play some other guys at third base for the time being,” Martinez shared.

“I know we talked about Carter [Kieboom], he’s working his way back, he had an injury. So we’ll see what that looks like in the future, but I think right now we got some guys that can play third base over there. [Jordy] Mercer is playing today over there, [Josh Harrison] has played over there, [Alcides] Escobar has played over there, so we can do some different things, but the biggest thing is to keep our heads up and keep pushing forward.”

Speaking of Carter Kieboom:

Davey Martinez talked earlier this month about a knee injury that minor league infielder Carter Kieboom suffered that had kept him out of action, but he didn’t have much info about the issue at that point.

“The only thing I can say is it’s the back of his knee. He felt something pop, but that’s really all I know,” Martinez said in a July 2nd Zoom call with reporters.

With Castro on administrative leave, it would have seemed like a good spot to get Kieboom up if he was available, but at this point he hasn’t played since June 29th.

Did Martinez have any more info?

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

“Yeah, it was his knee, he had a — the back of his left knee swelled up on him, so like I said, he was rehabbing.”

Kieboom has a .248/.380/.409 line on the year at Triple-A Rochester, with seven doubles and five home runs in 40 games.

Since Kieboom’s unavailable, as Martinez said, Jordy Mercer started last night’s game at the hot corner, and the skipper said he has other options.

“Yeah, Mercer can play third, Escobar has played some third, and also J-Hay has played some third base, and those three guys are very much qualified to play over there.”

“I know [GM] Mike [Rizzo] and I will have some discussions moving forward and see what we can do, but I feel comfortable putting any one of those three guys at third base.”

René Rivera = Catcher No. 6:

With both Alex Avila (bilateral calf strains) and Yan Gomes (oblique) placed on the 10-Day IL before the All-Star break, the Nationals called up Tres Barrera and Jakson Reetz, but before the start of the second-half last night, the club optioned Reetz back to Triple-A Rochester to make room for veteran catcher René Rivera, who signed on with the team after Cleveland released him earlier this month.

So is the signing a ... sign that Avila and Gomes won’t be back for a while?

San Diego Padres v Washington Nationals Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

“Avila is actually, he’s doing a lot better,” Martinez said, “... he’s going to take some batting practice today, go through all his baseball routine. He’s going to run a little bit. He should be close.

“Yan Gomes, he hasn’t been able to do much still. He’s still getting treatment, rehabbing, so we don’t know how long it’s going to be for him.

“Having another veteran catcher to me definitely helps, especially with our rotation, and René has been around, he understands pitching, he’s caught some pretty good pitchers in his career, so, thought by bringing him in here, one, he can help catch our guys, and also help Tres Barrera, who is still a young catcher, and help him on the way too.”

Rivera told reporters after the Nationals’ 24-8 loss last night that he was excited about the club giving hm another opportunity.

“I think it’s a blessing,” Rivera said. “I can keep playing this game. I just got home a couple days ago after 10 days in Cleveland, and I find out to come here, I think it’s awesome.

“Been playing against Washington for a few years and now an opportunity to play in here, great organization, great city, so looking forward to it, man.”