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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Gerardo Parra to IL; Jordy Mercer; Riley Adams + more...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability on Sunday afternoon, with notes and quotes from the Nats’ skipper, and all the information would could cram into one little, 1200+ word story to keep you informed of all things Nationals...

Parra Shark To IL:

Before Sunday afternoon’s game against the New York Mets in the nation’s capital, the Washington Nationals announced that following Saturday night’s game, they returned starter Josh Rogers to Triple-A Rochester.

The club then quickly recalled Rogers with outfielder Gerardo Parra going onto the 10-Day Injured List with inflammation in his right knee, which was surgically repaired over the winter.

“Parra has been complaining about his knee,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez explained before Sunday’s game. “Says he’s got a little inflammation in his right knee. It’s the knee he had surgery on, so I talked to Parra and just told him, ‘Hey, why don’t we just give this thing some rest and see how you feel in 10 days or so,’ so he agreed.

World Series - Houston Astros v Washington Nationals - Game Three Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

“He said he couldn’t stay on his legs very good hitting. So he’s going to give it some rest and then we’ll see how he feels when he comes back.”

Martinez said he does hope that Parra is able to return down the stretch for a curtain call in D.C., considering what he’s meant to the organization and fan base.

“I don’t know what his future is,” the fourth-year skipper said. “I know — I talk to him a little bit and I know he thinks he wants to play another year. And I always tell him, I say, ‘Hey, if you feel that way, don’t give up that uniform, let them take it off you.’ But we’ll see how he feels. I would love for him to come back and still have the opportunity to finish up strong here. He meant a lot to this organization over the years, as we all know, so we’ll see how he feels in 10 days or so.”

Coach Mercer:

Jordy Mercer, 35, hasn’t taken the field for the Nationals since July 20th when he landed on the IL with a left calf strain, five games after he returned from a few weeks on the IL with a quadriceps strain. He’s been helping out behind the scenes, offering coaching and guiding some of the young players on the roster through the post-fire sale reboot, and doing what he can to contribute while he rehabs.

“He’s actually running a lot better,” Martinez said on Sunday. “He’s taking ground balls as we speak. But hopefully he’ll be ready to go here pretty soon.”

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

But after all that time off, Mercer may not be able to just jump back in.

“I hope he’s cleared to play. I’m going to talk to him, but he hasn’t played in a while, so we might have to send him out to play a couple games and then see how he feels,” Martinez explained.

And where would Mercer, who hasn’t been available since before the trade deadline, fit in with the roster configured the way it is now?

“He knows his role,” Martinez said. “He’s a utility guy, but he’ll play second, short, third, but he’s a nice guy coming off the bench, because when we want to do something in-game, as I always talk about, he can play multiple positions.”

Riley Adams - Behind the Plate/Scenes:

We asked Davey Martinez about all the talk we hear from pitchers about the joys of working with the Nationals’ new catcher Keibert Ruiz, so we figured it was only fair to ask him what he’s seen from Riley Adams, the other catcher acquired at the trade deadline who’s sharing the backstop duties with Ruiz (and Alex Avila, sort of) now.

Adams, 25, was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in return for Brad Hand at the trade deadline, and he came up first, sharing the job with Tres Barrera, before Berrera went to Triple-A to make room for Ruiz’s arrival.

Through 21 games and 58 plate appearances heading into Sunday’s game, Adams was 17 for 48 (.354/.466/.583) with five doubles, two home runs, five walks, and 15 Ks since he’s been in D.C., so how is he doing defensively, and in terms of prepping game plans, and in-game action, etc.?

New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game Two Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

“You know it’s funny, these two guys [Ruiz and Adams], they communicate with each other very well,” Martinez said.

“They talk about different things and talk about different pitchers, and they feed off of each other, what they see in different guys; so it’s been a lot of fun.

“And Riley’s done — I know [bullpen/catching coach] Henry [Blanco] has been working with him, because he’s a bigger guy behind the plate, about staying lower, giving lower targets, about staying down, he’s done a great job blocking balls.”

“As big as he is [6’4’’, 246], and I’ve talked about this before,” Martinez said, “... he’s really athletic, super-athletic, and you watch him come out, we’re trying to get him to stay lower when he comes out to throw, he kind of comes straight up, which is typical for a big guy, but he’s got a cannon of an arm. He throws the ball, he’s got a fairly quick release, and he throws the ball really well, so we’re going to continue to work with both these guys.

“I know they’re young, but they’re eager, they go out there every day with Henry and they work on different things, so it’s — and they’re still learning, but yet I watch them and they’re really good at what they do and how they prepare every day.”

Mr. Positivity Strikes Again:

Talking about Josiah Gray’s rough outing last time out before Sunday’s start, which saw the 23-year-old right-hander give up seven hits, three walks, and six earned runs in four innings, Davey Martinez said that he tries to stress the positives coming out of starts like that one to keep his players focused on what they’re doing right.

“Every time he pitches,” he said, “we always talk about, I said, ‘Tell me something positive that happened today and he’ll run off a lot of different things that he felt he’d done right, and I’ll say, ‘Let’s build off of that and we’ll go from there.’”

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

It’s an approach Martinez said he takes with all his players, pitchers and hitters alike.

“I do it with all the players, especially the young players, the hitters, everybody, but I want these guys to understand that this is not an easy game. As a hitter, as we all know, if you’re 3 for 10 you’re considered one of the best, so that means seven out of ten times you fail, so enjoy the moments you succeed and go from there. And think about those moments, don’t dwell on the times you don’t. I see a lot of guys watching videos of them swinging at a pitch that they swung in the dirt 55 feet away from — and I look at them and I go, ‘What are you looking at?’ I said, ‘It was a ball. Let’s focus on swinging at strikes. Get the ball in the strike zone, get the ball up.’ And they look and go, ‘Yeah.’ And I said, go back, and I’ll show them when they hit a line drive and where the ball was, and say, ‘This is where you need to be right here. Focus on that right there.’ And it helps them clear their mind and it helps them go back out there and try to be as positive as they can.”