Davey Martinez gave a rundown of the issues the Washington Nationals came out of the win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday dealing with after a long game on a hot and humid day in the nation’s capital.
“Trea Turner jammed his left middle finger, he’s going to be day-to-day. He jammed it pretty good, he’ll be day-to-day, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” the manager said.
“[Juan] Soto cramped up on his last at bat, his left hammy. [Jordy] Mercer cramped up, his quad cramped up on him. Everybody else, so far, so good.”
When he spoke to reporters on a Zoom call in advance of last night’s series opener with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Martinez had not yet spoken to the banged up members of his roster to see if there were good to go a day later.
“These guys are just now starting to come in and get in the clubhouse,” he explained when he spoke between 3:30 and 4:00 PM ET.
“I figured today was going to be a rainy day, so they were just going to hit in the cage, and get ready to play.”
“I don’t know anything yet, so we’ll see as soon as we’re done here, I’m going to go in,” he added.
When the lineup he was fielding was released much later than usual, around 45 minutes before the scheduled start time, it was ... something.
Alex Avila, 34, a backup catcher with time at first and third, and even a few innings on the mound, in the majors, was penciled in as the Nationals’ second baseman.
Starlin Castro, who’s played third base all season, shifted to short, where he’s played 850 games in his career.
Josh Harrison, who’s played all four infield positions at least once, and all three outfield spots in his 11 big league seasons, (with a 1⁄3 of an inning on the mound), moved over to third base from second where he’s played most of his games in 2021, with a few outfield starts as well.
While there were some miscues and awkward plays, they all did a serviceable job, and Avila caught a liner, thrilling his teammates, and fielded a grounder and threw to first, which sent the Nationals’ dugout into paroxysms of joy.
“I know when he caught the first ball his teammates went wild, so, and then he caught the ground ball and they were ecstatic,” Martinez said after their 6-2 rain-shortened loss to the Dodgers.
How did it come to this?
“Trea’s finger, we couldn’t get the swelling down. He tried, and I just don’t want him to get hurt any more, or try to — we just got to — it’s a day-to-day thing,” Martinez explained. “He feels like maybe in a few days, once the swelling goes down, he can play, and then Jordy came in today and he tried to play as well, and same thing. He’s had a right quad injury before, and he just couldn’t get it loose, so that led us to playing Avila in the field, and I know he’s played third base before, but we tried to put him in a position where J-Hay was going to catch most of the ground balls, but he went out there and made a couple plays.”
There were no other options, apparently, as Martinez told reporters, running down all the possibilities they considered.
“Carter [Kieboom] is not available,” he said. “Carter is hurt. He’s got a knee injury, so he’s out, [Adrían] Sanchez is out, [Luis] García is out, we can go to Double-A, [Jackson] Cluff is out. So, we’re dealing with a lot of injuries right now.
“We’re working through some stuff, hopefully something will work out for us, but we’ve got a lot of decisions to make tonight.”
Will the help come from outside of the organization?
“We’re looking at some other options inside as well, we’re just — we’re searching, so like I said, hopefully Trea comes back tomorrow and feels a little bit better. I know Mercer is going to get an MRI tomorrow and we’ll see where he’s at, but we’re going to try to get somebody here that can play the middle of the field.”