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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Trea Turner re-Turner-ing to D.C.; Keibert Ruiz + more

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

Welcome Back, Trea! and Huddy!:

Trea Turner played six and a half seasons in D.C. following the three-team deal in 2015 which brought him over from the San Diego Padres along with starter Joe Ross.

In his time in D.C., the now-28-year-old infielder put up a .300/.356/.486 line, 135 doubles, 32 triples, and 93 home runs in 637 games and 2,803 plate appearances, but he was dealt to the LA Dodgers last July as part of the sell-off at the deadline which kicked of the reboot of the Nationals’ organization.

Turner, who played a pivotal role on the 2019 World Series championship team, and Daniel Hudson, the closer in Washington between 2019-21, who recorded the final out in ‘19, both returned to Nationals Park last night as part of the 2022 LA Dodgers’ roster, and prior to the game, their former manager talked about what it meant to have them both in town this week.

World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Seven Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

“Seeing all these guys come back, and talking to them always brings back fond memories,” Davey Martinez said, “so Trea and Huddy [are] no different. What I will tell you is both of them played a big part in our successes in ‘19 and in here, when they were here, they both were really, really good. I’m looking forward to seeing them both and talking to them. Trea is special, because he was in the dugout all day long, him and [Anthony] Rendon and all those other guys, and then Huddy, I always loved calling down there and getting Huddy in the game knowing that we had a chance to win. Miss those guys tremendously, but as you know, this game moves on and I always wish them well except for when we play against them.”

As tough as it was to part with Turner, Hudson, Max Scherzer, Brad Hand, Yan Gomes, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison, and Jon Lester, all but Turner on expiring contracts, the brass in D.C. made the decision that they’d taken the roster they had as far as they could.

Two of the four players the Nationals got from LA in return for Turner and Scherzer, Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz, are well on their way to establishing themselves in the majors, and that was part of the plan.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

“When we traded all those guys, we made an organizational decision that we were going to get super young,” Martinez explained, “... and we were going to transition to something different, and like I said, it’s part of the game. A lot of teams do it, and we got some good players in return. It’s always tough, initially, when it happens, because I build these relationships with these guys and these guys were a part of something huge that happened here, but like I said, it was time to get these newer players and there’s a process when you get them to teach them how to play the game and play the game the right way in the major leagues, and these guys have learned, they’re learning every day, and like I said, they’re both playing really well.”

Speaking of Keibert:

Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray have had plenty of time now to get used to being known as two of the players who were traded for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, but going into this week’s matchup against the club that dealt them to the Nationals, Nats’ manager Davey Martinez said he was sure they wouldn’t press or try to do too much while going up against their former organization.

“I’ll talk to them,” Martinez told reporters, “but they both understand the situation. As you know, they’re both doing well, they both appreciate this organization very much, I know they have friends over there as well, so it’s just about going out there and being consistent and doing the things they’ve been doing.

“I don’t think Keibert is going to be any different playing against them than he was playing against Milwaukee the other day, so they’re going to go out there and compete and do their job.”

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Gray is scheduled to start the second of three with the Dodgers tonight, opposite Walker Buehler in a nice matchup on the mound, and Keibert, who moved up to No. 2 in the order on Sunday for the finale with the Brewers, was back up there again and started the series in the middle of an impressive run in which he, “reached base safely in 10 of his last 15 plate appearances dating to his last plate appearance (walk) on May 17 at Miami,” as the Nationals highlighted in their pregame notes. “He is 6-for-11 (.545) with three doubles, two RBI, four walks and two runs scored,” over that stretch, they added.

Martinez reiterated before last night’s game, how they’ve adjusted nicely since coming over to the Nationals, after maybe pressing and trying to impress when they first came up in late 2021.

“Since the first month that we got them where I felt they were putting a little bit of pressure on themselves they’ve been really good,” Martinez said, “... and they’ve been getting better each and every day, and like I said the maturity level from both of them — they’ve really grown a lot, so I don’t expect them to go out there and play any different than what they’ve been doing. I know the excitement is going to be there, but they’re excited about playing anybody, but like I said, they’re Nationals, and I know both of them love being here.”

Fun Flight Home:

Getting a win in the series finale in Milwaukee meant a lot for Washington’s scuffling club, which went 2-4 on the trip to Miami, FL and Wisconsin, salvaging wins in the third games each time. With the win in Sunday afternoon’s game, the Nationals at least got to fly home on a positive note.

“It was big for us,” Martinez said before the start of the Nationals’ six-game homestand.

“One thing I can tell you about these guys is that they don’t quit. And they’re playing hard.

“Sometimes I feel like they’re playing too hard, and we need to relax a little bit and not chase the game, let the game come to them, but it was good to hop on a plane after not winning the first two games and coming out yesterday on a getaway day and winning.

“So for me it’s just build off of that. We’ve got a tough opponent today, but let’s go out there and play a good, clean, crisp game and see what happens.”

Unfortunately, what happened was a 10-1 loss which left the Nationals 5-16 at home in the first two months this season.