All The HBPs:
With both Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor hit up high (though luckily neither of them was seriously injured) for two of the five hit-by-pitches in the first three games, New York’s Mets were understandably upset with the Washington Nationals, and some of their pitchers’ lack of control.
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez was empathetic. He reached out to the Mets over the course of the first series of the year to make sure everyone was okay and assure his club’s NL East rivals that there was nothing intentional going on, though they’d all previously discussed it on the field earlier in the series.
“I called [Mets’ manager Buck Showalter] after — I left a message after the first incident, I wanted to make sure I checked up on Alonso. I did try to call Lindor today. Obviously, his mailbox is full. I wanted to check up on those guys. You don’t wish that on any player. It’s one of the most unfortunate things of the game, guys throwing the baseball and sometimes they get a little erratic, but I wanted to make sure that they’re okay. I appreciate both of them as players, I respect them both, they’re both really good players, but I would have done that for any player.”
The benches cleared after the HBP on Lindor, but things didn’t get too ugly.
Watch this space though, because no one seems to forget these things, and it will be something to watch going forward as the divisional rivals play out their season series.
Aníbal Sánchez was initially lined up to start in Saturday’s game against the Mets, in his first game back in the majors since 2020’s 60-game campaign, but he came off the flight to D.C. from West Palm Beach with a stiff neck, so his initial outing of the season was bumped, and Joan Adon went in the third game of four with New York.
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters in his pregame press conference on Saturday that Sánchez wasn’t a sure thing for Monday either, which could force the club to bring a starter up from the minors.
“He’s still stiff. Monday will be TBD right now,” the manager explained. Martinez said he and GM Mike Rizzo were going to sit down after Saturday’s game and come up with the plan for the series opener in Atlanta.
“[Rizzo and I] we’re going to sit down after the game today, and discuss what our options should be if he can’t pitch, so I’ll know more tomorrow,” he said.
“He threw yesterday, but he’s still feeling it,” Martinez added, while noting that the issue is not something that Sánchez was dealing with before the flight to Washington.
“We knew for the last four or five days, that he woke up stiff and he couldn’t move his neck.”
Where will the club turn for Monday’s starter if Sánchez can’t go?
As of Sunday morning, when Martinez spoke before the fourth of four with the Mets in D.C., he said that Sánchez was “doubtful” for the series opener with the Braves.
“His neck is still an issue,” Martinez told reporters. “He actually went and — they put him on medicine, so I think he’s going to be doubtful for his start. So we’re going to work on who is going to pitch for us tomorrow, but yeah, I want to make sure, again, that he’s completely healthy before we get him back out there.”
The answer, the manager said, will likely come from the minors.
“I think right now, because of [how] much we’ve used our bullpen, we’ll get somebody up.”
Asked again after the game if they’d chosen a starter, Martinez said, “No. We’ll announce that tomorrow.”
Mason Thompson Lands On 10-Day IL:
Mason Thompson, 24, threw just three pitches on Saturday night before he shook his arm out noticeably on the mound, catching the attention of everyone in the home dugout.
Trainer Paul Lessard went out for a quick status check with the reliever, and Thompson abruptly left the game at that point.
“He’s got a right biceps... the X-rays were negative,” Martinez said. “He’s going to go get an MRI in the morning, so we’ll know more [then].”
There wasn’t any sign of an issue beforehand, but there were obvious signs things were not going well for Thompson on the mound.
“I saw him — he started dropping his arm down and cutting the ball off,” the manager said.
“The last pitch was really significant, so I called Paul to go out there and take a look at him.”
It was the first time any sort of problem cropped up though, Martinez reiterated.
“He warmed up really well. He said, ‘I warmed up and I thought I was good.’ In the past he’s had arm issues, so we’re going to be careful with him.”
On Sunday afternoon, the Nationals placed the reliever on the 10-Day IL with a right biceps strain, with one-time Orioles’ prospect Hunter Harvey, who was claimed off waivers back in March, from the San Francisco Giants, coming up from Triple-A to help out in the bullpen.
Early on Sunday, when Martinez spoke with reporters prior to the series finale with the Mets, Thompson was on his way to get an MRI on his right arm.
“There’s always concern when it’s a pitcher, obviously,” Martinez told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“We’ll see what the actual prognosis is, once we get the MRI back. Hopefully it’s just biceps tendinitis. My concern is that he’s had arm issues in the past; he’s a Tommy John guy. Yeah, I’m a little worried.”
As for how they decided to bring Harvey up when Thompson went down?
“He’s been pitching well,” the skipper said. “He’s been pitching really well. So I talked to [GM Mike Rizzo] after the game, and after talking to [Rochester Red Wings’ manager Matt] Lecroy and [Rafael] Chaves, who’s the pitching coach at Triple-A, they say he’s been throwing the ball well, so we just said we’ll bring him in.”
When Thompson went down, Martinez and Co. on the Nationals’ staff knew they needed to get someone up.
“We needed to get him. The first three games, obviously, our starting pitching hasn’t gone deep, so we wanted to make sure we had an extra arm for the bullpen today.”
The fifth-year skipper provided another update on Thompson after Sunday’s win over the Mets in the series finale.
“He’s got biceps tendinitis,” Martinez confirmed. “For me, that’s pretty good news. You never want to see anybody get hurt, but if anything, we’ll work through this, and he’s going to be shut down for a little bit, and we’ll get him back on the mound as soon as possible.”