Riley and Tres = New Kurt and Yan?:
Riley Adams, after working with Erick Fedde for the first time, talked about his preparation for the start, and the work he did with fellow Washington Nationals’ backstop Tres Barrera before the outing. The work the catching duo in D.C. did impressed Fedde, 28, who talked about how well-prepared Adams was after an at-times-shaky but ultimately solid start.
“He was wonderful today,” Fedde said of Adams. “You know that’s the first time I’ve actually ever thrown to him. He was really well-prepared in our pregame meeting. I was getting ready to explain to him kind of the things I like to do and he was on top of it kind of taking the words right out of my mouth, so to me that is awesome, seeing how prepared he was and he was a nice, big target, framed well today, and I thought we were in sync for the most part.”
There was definitely some mutual admiration going on.
“Erick’s got great stuff,” Adams said in his own post game Zoom call with reporters.
“He’s got four pitches that he can throw in any counts, and it’s impressive, you know, I’m still obviously learning these new pitchers and that was my first time catching him in a game, so I spent a little extra time today looking at some video of some of his previous outings. The Blue Jays, predominantly a right-handed hitting team, a lot of righties in that lineup, so I was kind of looking at how Erick liked to attack righties and those types of hitters, and also having Tres is great too, and [Alex] Avila is great too, just to talk to those guys. Tres helps me and gives me a really good scouting report every day and he’s just been a huge help just for every pitcher that’s new here obviously.
“Some of these guys coming out of the bullpen, I might have caught them once before, but it’s good to have Tres in the dugout that I can talk to between innings, and just kind of feel a little more comfortable when I got out there and catch them.”
Barrera, 26, is, of course, relatively new around here too, with 28 games in the majors so far, though he has spent six seasons with the organization after the Nationals drafted him in the sixth round in 2016, so he’s seen some of the pitchers on the way up, but he’s still learning a lot too, while helping the likes of Adams adjust as well.
“Tres has done really well,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said before second of two with the Blue Jays on Wednesday. “He’s a really big student of the game especially when it comes to behind the plate. He’s very knowledgeable, he wants to know every pitcher, and he has helped Riley a lot. These guys meet, when Riley catches, they sit down and they talk about hitters, pitch counts, what to throw in certain situations, so he has helped Riley a lot.”
Rainey & Suero in Rochester:
Wander Suero, down at Triple-A Rochester trying to sort things out, hasn’t pitched since August 13th. Tanner Rainey, down at Triple-A Rochester trying to get right as well, hasn’t pitched since August 12th. So, what’s going on with the two relievers?
“Suero is just — he’s getting a couple days off,” Martinez said before Wednesday’s game.
“Rainey had a pain in his side, so we shut him down to get that out of there. He had an MRI, everything came back negative, but I told him, I said, ‘Make sure it’s gone before you start throwing again,’ but he’ll be back throwing hopefully soon.”
In five games and 4 2⁄3 IP before he got some time off, Suero, who was getting hit hard in D.C. before he was optioned out, gave up 10 hits, two walks, and nine earned runs. So it’s not going great with the Nationals’ top affiliate either.
“He’s been — it’s all about his location,” Martinez said. “He’s been getting hit pretty hard. I watched some of the videos, a lot of the pitches again, are right down the middle, but I know we talked a lot about just him knowing what he wants to do with each pitch, I mean, he throws an unbelievable cutter, most of his pitches do cut, but we need to get him to understand that he needs to stay away from the middle of the strike zone and start pitching away from contact, you know, and utilizing his cutter a little bit better and utilizing his secondary pitches a little bit better, so he’s going to keep working. We got to get him right.
“I’ve said this before, we still believe that he’s a big part of our future, but we want to get him right.”
Before this latest stretch, Suero hadn’t pitched in the minors since 2018, so how’s he been handling the adversity this season that’s landed him back in Triple-A?
“He’s been great,” his manager said.
“He knows he needs to get better. I mean, the numbers show that he gets hit hard, so he knows he needs to get better, and he’s going to work to get his way back here.”
And Rainey, whose injury issues this season apparently followed him to upstate New York?
“We’re going to see how he does here in the next few days,” Martinez said, noting that in spite of the most recent issue, they don’t plan to shut Rainey down. “I talked to Rainey, he wants to come back and he wants to pitch. He wants to finish this year on a good note, so we’ll get him ready, and hopefully it won’t take long and get him back on the mound and we’ll go from there.”
Avila and Voth Updates:
Alex Avila got off the COVID-IL this past weekend, but he’s still not 100% physically as he recovers from the bilateral calf strains which originally landed him on the Injured List, so he’s not quite ready to return to action, though he’s building towards it.
“He ran a little bit today,” Martinez said on Wednesday afternoon.
“He’s definitely progressing. He’s getting better. He’s going to throw to the bases on — we have a day off tomorrow, hopefully. But we got to get him in Milwaukee early, he’s going to throw to the bases, he’s going to hit early, but he’s progressing fine, the biggest thing with him now is just the running, the running portion of it. He jogged today and said he felt a lot better, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Austin Voth, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 26th, when he too landed on the COVID-IL, returned to the mound on Tuesday night with a scoreless inning for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, but as Martinez said yesterday, the right-hander still has to build up before he returns to the big league bullpen.
“We still got to build him up some,” Martinez said, though he got good reports on Voth’s relief appearance in Rochester. “It went well. He felt okay. We got to get him a few more innings before we decide what we’re going to do, but I would love to get him back, but also I got to make sure that he’s built up.”
When he does return, Voth will remain in the bullpen according to his manager.
“I think right now he’s going to be locked in to just the bullpen role, we don’t want to mess with that right now. He’s done — he’s had some success in the bullpen so we’re going to keep him there for now.”
BONUS STORY: Gabe Klobosits is good people
We woke up yesterday with a notification in our Twitter feed:
Heads up #Nationls and #Guardian fans, As soon as our @BowieBaysox fundraiser is done, your next! @_nats86 @TalkNats @ClintOften @PippiNatTalking @gabe_klobosits @Nats48Fan @NatsGal @federalbaseball @natsteacher @NCIBPodcast @— Adopt A Minor Leaguer (@adoptmilbplayer) August 18, 2021
The Adopt A Minor Leaguer folks are on a mission to help, “... minor league baseball and its players by sponsoring them, one by one, through MiLB fans,” as they describe their goals in their Twitter bio, and they’ve “adopted” 676 players so far according to their website, so it’s good work their doing to help underpaid players around the minor leagues.
As they describe the process, players can contact them through the site, they’ll let their own community know that the player has reached out, and is up for sponsorship, and a sponsor is chosen from their community that can then work with the player to provide help.
In this case, however, the fundraiser they do may not be necessary. You might have noticed that one of the people tagged in the tweet above is recently-promoted Nats’ reliever Gabe Klobosits, a 2017 36th Round pick by the club who worked his way up to the majors earlier this season.
Klobosits saw the tweet and responded:
No fundraising will be needed! I will cover the funds needed for these guys!! Wasn’t long ago when I was in the same boat and this organization helped when times were tough. Also to be noted the Nats are top notch when it comes to helping their players! Let’s go Nats!!— Gabriel Klobosits (@gabe_klobosits) August 18, 2021
We’re not crying, you’re crying. And Klobosits, who was already growing on us, just became our favorite reliever.