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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Sean Doolittle and Cory Abbott + Mike Rizzo on Ben Joyce...

Highlights from Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez’s media availability this week...

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Do the Doo:

Back on April 20th, the Washington Nationals placed 35-year-old, 11-year veteran reliever Sean Doolittle on the 10-Day IL with what the team described as a left elbow sprain.

It was a tough blow for Doolittle, who signed on to return to D.C. after a year away from the team he pitched for from 2017-20.

Talking to reporters before the second of three with the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field on Wednesday, Nats’ manager Davey Martinez talked about the decision to shift Doolittle over to the 60-Day IL after he had a PRP injection in his left elbow.

“He’s going to just rehab,” Martinez said. “That’s what he can do. The reason we chose to put him on the 60-Day [IL], he had a PRP injection. That takes six weeks before he can throw. So, he opted to do that, get it over with, get it done right away, now he’s going to rehab. He said he feels really good, which is great, so we’re just going to rehab and get him back.”

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Doolittle made six appearances out of the bullpen early this season, tossing 5 13 scoreless, in which he walked no one while striking out six and holding hitters to a .059/.059/.118 line.

He made the decision to get the injection a few days before the club left on their current road trip, and start the rehab process.

“It was an option that he had and he opted to want to do it. He said he thinks he feels better doing it now and getting it over with,” Martinez explained, “... so like I said, now it’s just about rehab and getting him ready and when he’s able to throw, we’ll get him back as soon as possible.”

Organizational Depth:

Martinez was asked about Doolittle moving to the 60-Day IL after the shift was announced as part of a press release on the Nationals adding an arm to the organization.

The club claimed right-handed pitcher Cory Abbott off of outright waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday and optioned him to Triple-A Rochester, and to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Abbott, they transferred Doolittle to the 60-day IL.

Abbott, 26, was a 2017 2nd Round pick by the Chicago Cubs who debuted in the majors in 2021, and was purchased by the Giants last month.

“I saw him when he was with the Cubs,” Martinez, the former bench coach in Chicago, said.

“Good arm. Good, live arm. He was on waivers, and like I’ve said, especially this year, with the Spring Training short and everything you can’t have enough pitching, so he’s kind of a depth piece for us, so he’s going to go to Rochester.”

Abbott debuted in the majors with the Cubs last season, with a 6.75 ERA, an 8.94 FIP, 11 walks, and 12 Ks in seven games, one start, and 17 13 IP for Chicago.

The Nationals added another arm to the organization yesterday:

2022 Draft Talk - 105 MPH?:

Washington’s Nationals have the No. 5 pick in the 1st Round in this year’s draft, so the odds of the club taking a pitcher currently ranked 125th on’s list of the top prospects in this year’s draft class are slim, but when a pitcher hits 105 MPH on the radar gun and gets a bunch of viral videos going out on social media (see: @PitchingNinja), of course Mike Rizzo is going to be asked for his take, given his history as a scout, scouting director, and now GM in D.C.

What has Rizzo seen in Tennessee righty Ben Joyce, who, “went viral in February after he hit 103 mph in his second appearance for Tennessee,” as MLB’s scouts wrote, and dialed it up a bit this past week to 105.5? For reals?

“I’ve seen him on film, I haven’t seen him live,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning.

“We’ve seen him live, yeah,” he said, likely referring to the club’s scouts, though he did not elaborate. “I mean, he’s just a big strong guy that his arm is just lightning fast, and it comes out of there hot. The game I saw he sprayed a few fastballs to the arm side, but it comes out — you can’t teach 105.”

Is the 6’5’’, 225-pound Joyce a Top 5-type talent though?

“His velocity — I’ve never seen a pitch 105, so it would be the fastest pitch I’ve ever seen,” Rizzo said.

“Nothing guarantees you a top 5 pick,” he added, “... because pitching — there’s obviously a lot more to do with pitching than velocity, but again, you can’t teach 105, and it’s something that piques the interest of every major league evaluator that I’ve ever known.”