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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Donovan Casey not getting in; Gerardo Carrillo going on IL + more...

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

[Should Have] Let Casey Play!!!:

Donovan Casey joined the Washington Nationals on April 15th in Pittsburgh, and the 26-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers as one of the four prospects in the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner deal last July 30th, was with the Nats through the series in PNC Park and the first two games with the Arizona Diamondbacks this week, before he was optioned back to Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday night, having never in that time taken the field for what would have been his MLB debut.

Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez did try to let him know before he returned to Rochester, that he still figures in the club’s plans, likely in the near future.

“I talked to him for a little bit and I said, ‘Hey, look, you’re still part of our organization, our future,’ but he’s got to play every day,” Martinez explained.

Surprise Saguaros v. Salt River Rafters Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images

“He understands that. I told him, ‘It stunk that I couldn’t get you in the games, but go down there and keep knocking the door down.’ Because he was swinging the bat well, he’s playing well, so he goes back down there and starts playing every day again, and just be ready for your next call-up.”

Casey went 6 for 24 (.250/.280/.625) with two doubles, two triples, and a home run in six games at Triple-A before he got called up.

Martinez was asked if he’d considered slotting Casey in as the DH in order to get him into one of the games while he was up, but he said he’s juggling a lot of players, and trying to get everyone the at-bats they need to stay sharp and it just didn’t work out.

“Yeah, I thought about it, but you want to play [Victor] Robles,” he said, “... and I wanted to play Lane [Thomas]. We were thinking about doing some things in the games — because he’s an unbelievable defender, he really is, but it just didn’t work out.”

Gerardo Carrillo To Double-A IL:

Gerardo Carrillo, 23, is another prospect acquired in the Scherzer/Turner deal with the LA Dodgers, along with Casey, Josiah Gray, and Keibert Ruiz, and the right-handed pitcher started the season as the No. 7 prospect in the organization according to MLB Pipeline.

Carillo posted a 4.76 ERA, 50 walks, and 108 Ks in 23 games, 22 starts, and 96 13 IP with the Dodgers and Nationals’ Double-A affiliates in 2021, but AA Harrisburg skipper Tripp Keister told FBB’s David Driver last week that the hard-throwing righty was making the transition to the bullpen.

Scottsdale Scorpions v. Glendale Desert Dogs Photo by Jennifer Stewart/MLB Photos via Getty Images

“We have been taking it very slowly with him,” Keister said.

“He has a really good arm; he is well suited for the bullpen, and he is getting used to that. He has a fastball, two-seam, cutter, curve, and change.”

Unfortunately, Carrillo ended up on the 7-Day IL earlier this week, and when Davey Martinez was asked if he had any info on Wednesday, he admitted he hadn’t heard anything from the club’s Double-A affiliate, though he had just seen the news.

“I have not got any feedback of why, so I’ll find out,” Martinez promised, and when he spoke in advance of Thursday afternoon’s game he said he had a report, explaining simply he was told Carrillo had, “shoulder discomfort” in his right shoulder.

Aníbal Sánchez Update?:

Aníbal Sánchez came off the flight from West Palm Beach to D.C. at the end of Spring Training with a cervical nerve impingement in his neck which landed the 38-year-old pitcher on the 10-Day IL earlier this month.

Davey Martinez said on Thursday afternoon that the veteran starter hasn’t started to throw yet, as he rehabs and works his way back following a year off in 2021, when he decided he would not play, and a quick ramp-up in the post-CBA agreement, three-week build to 2022 in Spring Training.

New York Mets v. Washington Nationals Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Martinez was asked before yesterday’s game about what, if any, progress Sánchez had made since landing on the IL.

“No, same,” Martinez said. “He’s still — no throwing, just rehabbing, and I’ll let you know when he’s able to throw. But he’s just rehabbing, trying to build strength back.”

As for what he’s doing in terms of his rehab to “build strength back”?

“Just a lot of different strengthening exercises, strengthening the shoulder area, the neck area, his back,” Martinez explained.

“So, like I said, he’s doing better, he’s just quite not there yet.”

Saturday’s Starter?:

The doubleheader with the D-backs on Tuesday created a need for a starter this weekend, since the Nationals had to use two starters in the twin bill, meaning no one would be good to go on regular rest five days from the game. So where will the Nationals turn for a starter for the second game of three with the San Francisco Giants in D.C. on Saturday?

As of Thursday afternoon, Martinez was still not ready to name a starter, though he did note that ideally, if he can avoid using Paolo Espino, the right-hander would take that assignment and start on Saturday afternoon.

“As of right now, that’s the plan,” Martinez said. “But if we need him to pitch, we’ll see, so I don’t want to make any announcements on who’s pitching Saturday yet, so we’ll worry about today, we’ve got a chance to win the series today with Josh Rogers pitching, and he’s done well for us, so I’m looking forward to watching him go out there and compete again.”