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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Victor Robles running; Josh Bell power numbers + more...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability on Tuesday night in Miami...

Victor Robles Running:

Among several areas of his game which Victor Robles struggled with in ‘21 was his running game. Robles got thrown out in 6 of 14 stolen base attempts while he was in the majors, so it’s probably not too surprising he hasn’t been running much at all this year.

In 2019, the then-22-year-old outfielder stole 28 in 37 attempts, but as he’s had issues with the bat in his hands over the last few seasons, he’s slowed down the running game, with a total of 13 stolen bases in 20 attempts between 2020-22.

Robles made his first attempt, and stole his first base this season in the series opener with the Marlins in Miami on Monday.

We know, we know, you’re probably thinking, well he has to get on base to steal one, and yes, it is true, but as Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez said, when he does get on, he is one of the players who has a green light to run.

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

“Yeah, I mean, and honestly, he’s on his own and depending on the situations of the game,” Martinez explained, “he’s good to go. So yesterday he actually had a really good jump, which was kind of nice. But yeah, when he gets on there, you know, especially if he’s on there early in the inning, if he has an opportunity to steal, we want him to steal. But it’s up to him. I never like putting the steal sign on because sometimes guys will get quick-pitched, or they don’t get a jump and they feel obligated to run, and I don’t want that to happen.”

Asked if he wanted to see Robles run more often, Martinez said yes, in the right situations.

“Yeah, and everything has to be right,” he explained. “Like I always say, if two out of three things make sense, then, you know ... but if we’re behind, or we’re ahead usually a lot, we don’t want him to run. But he, like I said, I told him yesterday, ‘You had a great jump, and I like when you’re aggressive, but you got to be smart.”

Robles singled in the top of the sixth last night, with one out, but he got picked off first base by reliever Anthony Bender on a night when the Nationals didn’t have many baserunners.

Cruz & Escobar Return:

Nelson Cruz felt sick before the series opener in Miami, so the Nationals sent the 41-year-old slugger back to the hotel to keep him away from his teammates in case it was anything real serious, but the DH in D.C. returned to the lineup for last night’s game, and Alcides Escobar (finger), who missed a couple games last week, and the first of three with the Marlins, got in there as well.

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

“[Cruz] said he wasn’t feeling well yesterday, precautionary, I don’t want anybody else to get sick,” Martinez said before last night’s game.

“He woke up today, he said he felt fine. I watched him do his warmups, and he hit in the cage and looked good, so he’s back in there.”

And Escobar, who had an infection in a fingernail, which spread to the knuckle?

“He’s feeling better, we just got to keep an eye on his finger. It was pretty infected, but he said felt a lot better, so he’s going to go out there and play today.”

Bell’s Power #s?:

Josh Bell started the second of three with the Fish with a nine-game hit streak going, over which he was 11 for 36 (.306/.359/.389) with a home run, two walks, and five Ks, which left him with a .333/.423/.481 line overall this season, with seven doubles, four home runs, and 18 walks vs 17 Ks in 36 games and 151 PAs.

Considering he had a .172/.239/.343 line, five doubles, four home runs, eight walks, and 30 Ks in 27 games and 109 PAs at this point last season, after he started his first year in D.C. at home on the COVID-IL, Bell and the Nats will take his production this season, but a reporter asked manager Davey Martinez if he’s concerned at all that the switch-hitting slugger, who has a double and two home runs in 14 games and 62 PAs this month, isn’t hitting for a lot of power right now?

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

“He hit a ball yesterday we all thought was going to be a homer,” Martinez said of a 360-foot flyout by Bell in the series opener, “but I just want him to have good at-bats, like I said. His chase rate is down, which is good. As we get closer to warm weather in summer he’ll start driving the balls, but he’s hitting some balls good, he really is. He’s worked really hard on not chasing. He feels like the more he can put the ball in play the better he’s going to be, and it’s been that way. He’s been getting his hits, the power numbers will come.”