Even as rumors of the Washington Nationals bringing up a veteran infielder to bolster their depth swirled last night, with a slew of injuries depleting the big league roster, there was a bit of chatter that the club wasn’t done adding to their options.
Before last night’s game, the Nats called up veteran infielder Humberto Arteaga, who had signed a minor league deal with the club last winter, and had a combined .227/.267/.309 line with three doubles and two homers in 29 games and 116 plate appearances between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Rochester this season before he got the call.
“We needed someone right away, so he was the guy,” Martinez explained, after previously noting the long list of injuries that led to Arteaga being the guy.
Trea Turner and Jordy Mercer were both injured in Wednesday’s game, with Mercer going on the IL on Friday, and, Martinez said, “... Carter [Kieboom] is not available, 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.”
Arteaga, the manager said, was the next in line.
“He’s playing — like I said, he can help us play multiple positions, but he’s played shortstop and he’s done well, so we need him, and he was right here in Triple-A with us so we brought him up.”
Meanwhile, there were rumors that the Nationals had other things in motion:
Sources: The Nationals are in the process of acquiring veteran shortstop Alcides Escobar from the Royals. Escobar is on his way to Washington with the team needing middle infield help. The 34-year-old last played in the majors in 2018.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 2, 2021
#Nationals are indeed getting Alcides Escobar from the Royals. They're sending cash. Escobar was in KC for part of their rebuild and won the 2015 World Series. Named ALCS MVP in '15. Ned Yost liked to refer to him as a shark because he didn't appear to have bones/was very durable— Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) July 3, 2021
Escobar is hitting .274 with a .311 OBP at Triple-A Omaha. He played in the Japanese Central League in 2020 and bounced around in 2019.@dougherty_jesse had it first.— Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) July 3, 2021
Martinez, acknowledging that Escobar was in Nationals Park when he spoke before Saturday night’s game, said nothing was done at that point, though it obviously would be soon.
“He’s probably going to get activated. We haven’t made any moves yet. So, we’ll see what — like I said, we’re waiting on Trea, and you’ll know all this stuff before the game starts.”
The Nationals made that move official this afternoon, but in last night’s game, they also had Kyle Schwarber go down with a right hamstring injury. He was scheduled for an MRI today, but Martinez was asked last night if the club would have to bring up an additional outfielder considering it looked pretty bad.
Martinez said he didn’t want to speculate before they had the results of Schwarber’s MRI.
“We’re going to wait,” the manager said. “He’s getting it early in the morning, so we’ll wait and see what happens. You’ve always got to think positive, you know.”
While Andrew Stevenson, on the IL with an oblique strain since June 18th (retroactive to 6/17), would seem like an obvious option to return to play left in Schwarber’s absence, it didn’t look like the timing on that would work.
“He’s actually going to go out and play,” Martinez said, suggesting a rehab assignment was imminent. “He’s missed some time, he’s going to go get at bats, and he’s going to go out and play in Rochester, but it might not be a long stint, you know, because like I said, we might need some players. But we need to at least get him 10 at bats, 12 at bats, but he’s got an oblique [injury], so we want to make sure that he’s totally okay before we activate him.”
This afternoon, Martinez announced that the MRI showed the injury to Schwarber was significant.
“He’s got a significant strain in his hamstring, so he’s going to miss some time,” the skipper said.
“It’s unfortunate, but I talked to him, I just got done talking to him, and he’s in good spirits, he said he’s going to work really hard to get back as soon as possible, and I told him, ‘Hey, just be ready. We still have plenty of good season left, so just get yourself ready.”
So how would they handle Schwarber’s absence? Who would they call up?
“We’re working on it. We’re working on it. So, I don’t have the details yet, but you’ll probably see someone here hopefully before the game.”
Outfielder Yadiel Hernández showed up on the field in Nationals Park before the game, and reporters in D.C. noted that catcher Tres Barrera was up as well.
So, now that you’re all caught up. The Nationals made the latest moves official earlier today:
The Washington Nationals announced the following roster moves Saturday:
· Acquired infielder Alcides Escobar from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash considerations and selected him to the active roster
· Designated infielder Humberto Arteaga for assignment
· Recalled catcher Tres Barrera from Triple-A Rochester
· Recalled outfielder Yadiel Hernandez from Triple-A Rochester
· Placed catcher Alex Avila on the 10-day Injured List (retroactive to July 2) with bilateral calf strains
· Placed outfielder Kyle Schwarber on the 10-day Injured List with a right hamstring strain
Got all that? There’s baseball at 7:15...