Escobar’s Swollen Wrist:
In his post game Zoom call with reporters on Sunday, Davey Martinez revealed that veteran infielder Alcides Escobar was unavailable in the game after a hit-by-pitch on his wrist in the series with the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park last week.
“He got an MRI on his wrist,” Martinez explained, after the wrist became an issue a few days after the HBP.
“It swelled up pretty good on him,” the manager said.
“Everything came back negative, but he had some significant swelling, they actually had to drain it, so he’s real sore, he felt better today, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Before Monday’s game, the fourth-year skipper said that there was some improvement, but not enough for Escobar to return to the lineup.
“He’s still going to be day-to-day. He’s sore. He did a little bit of throwing today, feels better, but he still can’t swing the bat yet. So, we’re just going to keep an eye on him, so we’ll see how he feels throughout the day. He’s got some strength back a little bit more than he did yesterday, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Having your wrist drained sounds like ... not a lot of fun?
“I mean, it’s painful,” Martinez said.
“I saw it, and I saw it kept swelling up, and so the swelling has gone down significantly, but now it’s just sore, and it’s in his joint where he has trouble moving his wrist, but he’s getting better.”
Luis, Luis — Shortstop or Second?:
In the post-Trea Turner era, and really before Turner was traded to LA, (when he ended up on the COVID-IL), Alcides Escobar moved over to short, with Luis García, the 21-year-old infielder, called up and asked to play second base, where he saw a lot of time in the majors in 2020, though he’d played predominantly short at Triple-A this season.
Martinez said he intended to get García reps at short, but the injury to Escobar created an opportunity to get the young infielder over there right away.
Eventually, Martinez said on Monday, he’d like to settle on one position for the infielder who signed with the organization out the Dominican Republic in 2016 for a $1.5M bonus.
“Ultimately I’d like to just pick a spot for him,” the manager said.
“Right now, especially now that Escobar is down, I want him to play shortstop for a few days and then we’ll go from there, but he’s done both and he’s done both fairly well.
“The biggest thing, like I said, especially over at shortstop, we are pushing him to come get the ball a little more, and come get that good hop, not sit back on his heels, so we’re going to work with him to get him better at that, and then we’ll see where he’s at.
“But around second base, he’s really good on turning double plays from both sides of the field, and as you know, a lot of times, because of all the shifting, these guys move around everywhere, and I talked to him, but I talked to [Carter] Kieboom too, as Kieboom — we always shift him to the other side and he’s very comfortable turning double plays as well over there, and fielding balls over there. So they understand that they’ve got to take ground balls and they work every day to take ground balls on different sides of the field so that when we do shift they don’t feel like they’re out of position.”
Josiah Gray Makes Debut:
Before he made his debut with the Nationals last night, following Friday’s trade from the LA Dodgers (as part of the return for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner), Josiah “Jo-Jo” Gray got the opportunity to meet some of his new teammates, and his manager was watching closely as the starter introduced himself around the dugout and watched Sunday’s game in D.C.
“I did go down there and have conversations with him,” Martinez said. “He was very into the game yesterday. He really watched the game.”
“He was sitting around,” the manager continued.
“I saw him talking to a couple of his teammates. From what we know about him, he’s a great kid, he wants to learn, he’s open to almost about anything, so I’m just excited to watch him go out there and compete today.”
Martinez did want to stress that it was just the start of Gray’scareer with the Nationals, so while he did, of course, want to 23-year-old pitcher to get off to a good start, he said he thought a little perspective was good too.
“Absolutely,” Martinez said. “I’ve talked to him since he got here, about, ‘Hey, you’re the future of our organization,’ you know, ‘we were very excited to be able to have you, and you’re going to pitch for us for a long time.’
“So anything he needs from me, ‘I’m here for you, you know, my door is always open,’ and like I said, he’s a good kid.
“He sat in the dugout yesterday and he started talking to everybody, and I told him, I said, I’m going to quiz you on your teammates here after today, so be ready.”
“He said, ‘I’ll be ready, I’ll be ready.”
Adrián Sanchez’s Achilles:
Adrian Sánchez, 30, tore his right Achilles tendon last June, but he rehabbed and returned to the field this season, and before he was called up last week, the infielder had a 16-game on-base streak going, over which he had a .354 AVG, five doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs, and nine runs scored. It was a long road back for the veteran, who’s been part of the organization since 2007, and his tenacity is something his manager definitely appreciates.
“That’s a tough injury to come back from to begin with, and to play the middle of the infield is even tougher, and he’s done it,” Martinez said before Sunday’s game, in which Sanchez connected for his second hit in two starts.
“It’s just a testament to how hard he worked to get back, and I was so happy that he got up there and got his first hit back out of the way. He’s such a good player, and a smart player, that he can play everywhere in the infield, but he also puts together good at bats too, and I was happy when he came back and was able to come back here, and he’s helping us right now fill a void.”
Yadi Dadi, Who Likes To Party?:
Yadiel Hernández’s four-hit game on Sunday afternoon, in which he hit two out, including a walk-off blast, left him 11 for 18 (.611/.632/1.111) with three doubles and two home runs in his last ten games, over which the 33-year-old outfielder drove in nine runs.
The recent run of success at the plate, Hernández said after walking off against the Cubs, has a lot to do with getting some regular at bats, which he got early in the season, when Juan Soto was injured and out of the lineup, but hadn’t since, at least not for an extended stretch.
“I think the key is just the fact that I’m getting more playing time, more opportunities to see more pitches, get more at bats,” Hernández told reporters. “The little short span when Juan was hurt, I got to play a little bit more, started getting a little bit more comfortable. The role as a pinch hitter is very difficult. It’s a transition, I had to make the adjustment especially mentally to prepare myself for the games, but lately I’ve played 2 or 4 days in a row consistently, and I feel like’s making me feel more comfortable and more consistent at the plate.”
“Obviously you see what he can do,” Martinez said. “I’ve said this before, he’s a good hitter, and he gets on these streaks where he can do some damage, and I’m not talking about just — but he can hit the ball a long way, and when he stays on the ball and uses the whole field, you saw what he can do, he hit two home runs, one to left field and one to left-center field last night, but like I said, he’s going to get an opportunity to play.”
Hernández isn’t the only one getting an opportunity on the new-look, post-trade deadline roster.
“[Andrew] Stevenson is going to get an opportunity to play, [Victor] Robles is going to play, and Soto is our mainstay out in right field, so they’re all going to get an opportunity and it’s good to watch them go out there and compete and do well, and that’s the awesome thing for me is that we put him in situations and he’s succeeding and he’s helping us win games, it’s pretty awesome,” Martinez said.
“To see him last night cross home plate, and the teammates jumping on him and dumping Gatorade on him and he comes out of there with a big smile on his face was awesome.”