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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Carter Kieboom injuring knee; bullpen sessions + more...

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Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability on Friday afternoon...

Carter Kieboom’s Knee?:

In running down the list of injuries throughout the organization that left the Nationals with no option but starting Alex Avila at second base on Thursday night, Washington’s skipper Davey Martinez noted that infielder Carter Kieboom, 23, was considered as an option, but was not available.

“The thought process was there,” Martinez said. “Carter is not available. Carter is hurt. He’s got a knee injury, so he’s out.”

Kieboom has a .248/.380/.409 line on the year at Triple-A Rochester, with seven doubles and five home runs in 40 games, but he hasn’t played since June 29th at this point.

MLB: Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

So what happened to Kieboom?

“Honestly, that’s all I know,” Martinez said, referring to what he’d told everyone the previous night. “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.”

Watching Bullpens:

Davey Martinez was delayed getting to his pregame Zoom call on Friday afternoon because he was watching a parade of pitchers throw bullpen sessions as they work their way back to the mound in game action.

Stephen Strasburg (neck strain), Daniel Hudson (elbow inflammation), and Kyle Finnegan (hamstring strain) all threw in the bullpen in Nationals Park, under the watchful eye of the Nationals’ manager and coaches. What did Martinez see?

“It went well,” he reported. “Finnegan threw the ball really well, Huddy threw the ball really well. Strasburg threw a 51-pitch bullpen and threw the ball well. We’ll see how they feel tomorrow, and like I said, it’s a process that they’ve got to go through. I liked what I saw, I think Finnegan was really pleased, and no issues with his hamstring, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Washington Nationals Workout Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Strasburg threw 51, how about the other two? “Finnegan threw 25, Huddy threw 40, and he said he felt good,” Martinez said.

Finnegan, according to one reporter, said he felt like he was close to returning when he met with the press on the field on Thursday. Does his manager agree?

“Possible,” Martinez said. “But like I said, today he threw the ball at 100%, and said he had no issues. His leg felt good. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and then we’ll go from there.”

“We could possibly have him for the weekend, we’ll see.”

Also Why Is Tanner Rainey Throwing A Football From A Seat?:

Reporters watching the Nationals throw as a group on the field in Nationals Park, noted that Tanner Rainey, IL’d earlier this week with a stress reaction in his right tibia was taking part in the workout.

But over the past few days he was spotted throwing a football from a seated position in right field in Nationals Park.

So, what’s going on there?

“They kind of use it for spin,” Martinez said. “Kind of keep his hands behind the baseball, something that they’ve done in Spring Training, a lot of pitchers do it in Spring Training.

“But when you can’t use your lower half and you have to sit in a chair, they tend to break out the football to keep their arm going. It’s just a program that they do, a lot of guys do it, so he’s doing it right now.”

Getting To Know The Nationals’ Way:

So the Nationals called Humberto Arteaga up last night, and Davey Martinez penciled him in as the starting shortstop, but, a reporter wondered before the game, how much info do you have to cram into an infielder’s brain once he joins the big league club, in terms of shifts, or positioning, and how the team handles things on the field? How long does it take to get up to speed?

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

“We’ll bring him in and we’ll sit down and talk to him and [Bench Coach Tim Bogar] will sit down and talk to him,” Martinez said.

“We have spray charts we’ll go over with him. A lot of times, even during the games, we might change some things up.

“These infielders are constantly looking in the dugout, but for the most part we give them a sheet, they understand it, they read it, they know who we shift, who we don’t shift, where we want to play and then we’ll go from there, but for someone that’s not accustomed to it, Bogie will spend some time, I’ll spend some time with him, and just go over what we do, and if he has any questions, either look in our dugout or look to the other players that understand. J-Hay [Josh Harrison] is out there, Starlin [Castro] is out there, and they know our system pretty well.”