Manager TBA After Follow-Up Procedure:
Davey Martinez went in for a follow-up procedure on his surgically-repaired ankle, so Tim Bogar took over the manager’s pregame Zoom call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
“He had a little post-op appointment today, just to check up,” Bogar explained.
“He actually had a new cast put on, it’s a beautiful Nationals red, he’s looking pretty good.
“He’s just TBA, kind of making sure he gets through the afternoon alright.
“We’re still wondering if he’s going to manage tonight or not, so he’s going to try to get out there, but if not, nothing has changed over the last couple weeks, so we’re good.”
Bogar has filled in a couple times over the last few weeks, post-surgery, and again when the fourth-year manager in D.C. was suspended for one game over pitcher Sean Nolin’s purpose pitch(es) to Atlanta Braves’ slugger Freddie Freeman during the last road trip.
“It’s still pretty much business as usual,” Bogar said. “He’s still running the game, he makes all the decisions, we talk just like he did before his surgery, the only difference is I go out and make the pitching changes. That’s pretty much it, and if something happens on the field I have to be the one to go out there and voice his opinion for him. So he’s had me a couple times go out there with questions for umpires on certain things. And then they’ll come over and talk to him through the fence.
“The umpires are very understanding about it, they’re respecting the fact that he’s out there in the condition he’s in, and we’re doing it the best we can.”
García at Second Base:
Davey Martinez and Luis García talked over the weekend about the 21-year-old infielder’s increased power at the plate this season, and his struggles at times defensively this year, and the manager touched on the areas of the shortstop-turned-second baseman’s game that he could improve upon whether García ends up at short or second in the future.
“For me, he’s just got to continue to get better and be consistent,” Martinez said generally.
“That’s the biggest thing, and with that being said, myself, Bogie, we watch him every day, and sometimes — and he’s young — but sometimes he doesn’t get ready in time. And we’re constantly harping on him, ‘Hey, you got to be ready every pitch, you don’t know when the ball is going to be hit to you. But you got to be ready every pitch. You got to stay in your legs and use your legs.’”
After a costly error over the weekend, Martinez said that when he does make mistakes, it’s usually about García just moving his feet and putting himself in a better position to field a ball.
“We got to constantly tell him, and constantly work on it with him,” Martinez added when the team got back to D.C. on Monday. “But we just want some consistency out of him, and that’s what we talk to him about all the time. We just got to get consistent.
“‘You show signs when you’re ready of how good you really could be, and you make some good plays, but you got to be ready every pitch.’”
Bell In Left; Adams At First:
Josh Bell was penciled in as the Nationals’ clean-up hitter and left fielder for the second of three with the Marlins in D.C. last night, with Ryan Zimmerman batting fifth and starting at first against Miami lefty Jesús Luzardo.
What has Bogar seen from Bell, with whom he’s worked a lot at first base, when the Nats do send him out to the outfield?
“Josh came up as an outfielder with Pirates,” Bogar began, “so he’s been out there quite a bit, he knows how to play out there, it’s kind of like a refresher course for him a little bit.
“Obviously we feel confident enough with his defensive ability out there, to throw this lineup out there and have Zim in there at first base.
“If you’ve learned anything about Josh Bell over this year, it’s he works really hard. He’s very educated, very diligent about what he does, and how he thinks about things and going out there with [third base and outfield coach] Bobby [Henley] and doing his drills, it’s a reminder for him, but he’s dedicated to it, so we’re kind of excited to see him out there maybe tonight and tomorrow, who knows.”
While Bell and Zimmerman have handled first base for the most part this season, Martinez and Co. on the Nationals’ bench, with an eye on the future, have also been working Riley Adams out over at first base to get him comfortable, the manager explained recently, if a situation ever arises where they need to run him out there late in a game or in some kind of emergency situation.
How does Bogar, who’s worked with Adams there, think that whole process is coming along?
“First and foremost,” Bogar said, “let me just tell you — Riley is a catcher, and he’s going to be a catcher, and we’re not trying to make him anything but a catcher, it’s more of like just giving him an opportunity, to show his skills, his abilities to do another position in case we have an emergency. It’s nothing more than that, but speaking to Riley, he’s very athletic. As you can see, he’s a big kid, but he moves well, he carries himself really well out there. He’s only done it a couple times, but you can see his actions are fluid, he understands what he’s supposed to do. He takes to instruction very quickly.
“So his ability to play over there is I think it’s going to be okay.
“It’s just a matter of repetition for him. But like I said, let’s go back to the first point: He’s a catcher, and he’s going to stay as a catcher and we’re not trying to make him into a first baseman.”