Davey Martinez didn’t have many options last night. The manager waited for Trea Turner and Jordy Mercer, who came out of Wednesday’s game banged up, to arrive at Nationals Park on Thursday afternoon to see if they could go, but neither infielder could, so he had to do what he could with what he had when it came to filling out his lineup.
Turner jammed his finger sliding headfirst into third base on a cycle-completing triple, and Mercer cramped up late in the long game on a hot and humid day in D.C., and when they’d arrived at the ballpark, neither was able to post up.
“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. 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 [catcher Alex] Avila in the field, and I know he’s played third base before, but we tried to put him in a position where [Josh Harrison] was going to catch most of the ground balls, but he went out there and made a couple plays.”
Avila told his manager he was up for the challenge, and he handled himself reasonably well in what ended up a loss.
“When these guys started coming in today, I had [bench coach Tim Bogan] give Avila the heads up,” Martinez said, “... knowing that he’s played the infield before, just to tell him, hey, I don’t know what’s really going to happen, we talked to him and he said, hey, he can do it.
“We told him exactly what we were going to do, we talked to J-Hay, told him exactly how we’re going to play this thing, and they both accepted it, which was awesome.
“It’s never good when you have to put a guy that hasn’t done something in a while in a different position, but he accepted it, and like I said, he did it well.”
Martinez did say after the game that they were working on a fix so that they wouldn’t be in the same spot for the second game of four with the Dodgers, when he was asked about a plan, after listing all of the injured infielders throughout the organization that limited their options. So would they go outside the organization if there were no internal options?
“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.”
What was the final fix they settled on?
The Nationals called up 27-year-old Humberto Arteaga this afternoon, bringing the one-time Kansas City Royals’ infielder, who signed in D.C. on a free agent deal this winter, back to the big leagues for the first time since 2019 after he put up a combined .227/.267/.309 line with three doubles and two home runs in 29 games and 116 plate appearances between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Rochester this season.
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE 2ND OF 4 WITH THE DODGERS: