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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Luis García vs lefties; getting Josh Bell and Ryan Zimmerman in lineup + more...

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Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability on Saturday...

Luis García vs Lefties:

Luis García went 2 for 2 with two doubles against Mets’ lefty Rich Hill on Friday, connecting for two of the three hits the Nationals had off the veteran hurler, and the two hits left García 13 for 39 (.333/.366/.564) with six doubles and one home run against left-handed pitchers overall so far in 2021. He went 0 for 2 against two of NY’s right-handed relievers, however, which left him just 17 for 97 (.175/.231/.289) against right-handed pitchers in 2021, with three of his nine doubles overall and one of his three home runs.

“He hit lefties well in the minor leagues as well,” Davey Martinez said on Saturday morning, before García and the Nationals took on the Mets again.

“He’s getting the balls middle in where he can handle, and he’s putting a good swing on them.

MLB: Game Two-New York Mets at Washington Nationals Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

“I hope he continues to do that, but against lefties, we often talk about left on left that you’ve got to be aggressive, especially with the fastballs, and he’s been doing that.”

Martinez said that the key for García against lefties, especially with how aggressive he is at the plate, is to focus on fastballs and not miss them.

“The biggest thing for me, and this is something that I learned as a player as well, you really got to be ready for the fastball,” Martinez explained.

“You want to start trying to stay away with sliders and breaking balls, get a fastball in the zone, and because he’s so aggressive early in the zone he’s getting pitches to hit.”

Bell and Zim:

Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Bell haven’t been in the lineup together too often this season, but Davey Martinez had Bell work out in the outfield for weeks to keep the possibility of a lineup with both sluggers in it an option, and he’s done it three times in recent weeks.

Both of them started against Mets’ lefty Rich Hill on Friday night, and they were a combined 0 for 7 with a walk in the Nats’ loss, but the manager still likes what they can bring when the two of them are in there, allowing Zimmerman to play when he would normally sit with Bell in the lineup, which he has been often as he’s hitting .316 over the last 15 games going into the doubleheader on Saturday, while he’s been passable in the outfield, starting twice in left and once in right so Zim could play first.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s to get Zim in there as well,” Martinez said. “I think it lengthens our lineup pretty good, and [Bell has] done really well out there so far, you know, he moves around really well.

“I’ve got a lot of compliments on how well he moves in the outfield. He’s doing well, throws the ball well, so it’s good to see him, and he’s just having fun with it. I told him, just have fun with it, just make sure you get behind the baseball, that’s all I ask.

“Don’t try to make the spectacular plays, just make the routine plays.”

New Duo Behind Dish:

Keibert Ruiz and Riley Adams have done a lot of work in a short period of time to get up to speed on the pitchers they have to work with in the nation’s capital, with both the catchers up in the majors now after they were acquired in separate deals at the trade deadline back on July 30th.

Keibert had to get to know his staff at Triple-A Rochester when he came over in the trade that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers, so he said he it was something he was prepared for when it come to working with the big league arms.

“That was something I was working on in Triple-A,” Ruiz explained, “getting to know the starters, get to know the relievers. I’m just here to help the team win, and whatever they want me to do, I’ll be there to do it behind the plate, for the relievers, for the starters, we need to have really good communication.”

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

His manager said Ruiz did a little bit of work getting to know the pitchers in the majors as he worked at Rochester after joining the new organization.

“He did some kind of — just watching games and stuff, but his focus was just handling the pitchers down at Triple-A, and that’s what he should be doing.

“So, now that he’s up here he’ll have to learn on the run, but I know he can do it. He did it so quickly down in Rochester with those guys that I’m assuming that and I know that he can do it.”

A week in, Martinez was asked how the process was going.

“We’ve given him a lot of information,” the manager said.

“He’s been watching a lot of video. I always say the toughest thing for a new catcher is the bullpen, getting used to catching different guys coming out of the bullpen every inning.

“Our guys have done really well with that. Even Riley Adams. He came over new and he learned these guys fairly quickly, and they’ve done well.”