A Little Update:
“I’ll give you a little update,” Davey Martinez teased a reporter who asked for information on Aníbal Sánchez, the 38-year-old Washington Nationals’ pitcher, who has been out of action since the end of Spring Training with a cervical nerve impingement in his neck, but has now started throwing and is apparently on his way to West Palm Beach, FL, where he will start to build up at the club’s facilities.
“He’s leaving. He’s going out. He’s going to Florida,” Martinez said. “And he’s going to go there and throw some live BPs, maybe pitch in a game or two, and then if everything goes well he’ll go on a rehab assignment and get him going. Josh Rogers is going to follow and do the same thing.”
Rogers, 27, has been on the IL with a a left shoulder impingement since June 3rd, but the left-hander is going to start ramping back up as well according to his manager.
“He threw a 28-pitch bullpen and he felt good, so we’re going to get him out and leave to go to Florida as well, and kind of almost be on the same program. Get him built up a little bit, and then we’ll see where he’s at.”
Once they’re ready, the pitchers will go out on rehab assignments, and the Nationals hope at some point in the near future, they’ll be able to contribute where they desperately need pitching in the majors.
“[Rogers will] probably do the same thing where we’ll send him to Rochester or Harrisburg, we don’t know yet, but they’ll both go out.”
And there’s an infielder heading out for a rehab assignment tonight. Alcides Escobar, who went on the IL on June 1st with a right hamstring issue, left D.C. for Scranton, PA to join up with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.
“Escobar left,” Martinez explained. “He’s going to play tonight, I hope, if he gets there. He’s supposed to be there to play tonight in Scranton. That’s where Rochester is playing. He’ll start a rehab tonight, and then we’ll see where he’s at. It will be nice to get these guys back, especially Josh and Aníbal. It will be really nice. So hopefully everything goes well for them and we can get them back here as soon as possible.”
About That Shortstop Job...
Davey Martinez told reporters when Alcides Escobar first went on the IL, and Luis García got the call to play short in the majors in his absence, there would be a conversation when their veteran infielder was ready to return, because García, 22, and tearing up Triple-A pitching at the time he was called up, was likely up to stay and play every day.
“As we get closer to him getting ready again, there will be another conversation with him,” the fifth-year skipper said, with “him” being Escobar in this case.
“Right now I just want him to get healthy,” Martinez continued. “But I think he understands where we’re at. He knows that we’re trying to build some young players and get them up here, and that’s part of the process, but it will be a conversation to have with him when he starts getting better and we know that he’s going to be okay and ready to play.”
Apparently he did have that conversation with Escobar at some point recently.
“I talked to Alcides, and he’s going to be more of a utility player. He can play third, he’s done it, short, second, first, left field, he has played center field before,” Martinez said.
“So, he’s going to kind of be that guy where if we need somebody late in the games, and also too if there’s a tough lefty and we have to give Luis a day off we will, and he can play short, but he understands moving forward his role, that Luis is going to play every day.
“And Luis has done well so far. And as I always mention, when [García] comes up here it’s to see him play every day, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
How did the conversation go?
“Good,” Martinez said. “He’s always said that he’ll do whatever. When I had him last year he’s the one that mentioned, “Hey, I can play anywhere if you need me. I can hit anywhere, you know.’ So I said, ‘Well, great. Be ready. Right now, I need you to play shortstop.’ But he’s been good, and I’m glad he’s feeling a lot better. He ran really well yesterday, so I just decided, ‘Hey, you need to start going out and getting some playing time.’ And he was ready.”
5 In 4:
Before the series finale with the Braves last night, Davey Martinez was asked how he’s going to line his pitching up for five games in four days with the Phillies in D.C., starting tonight at 7:05 PM ET.
“[Erick] Fedde is pitching today,” he said. “[Patrick] Corbin is tomorrow. TBD on Friday, and then Josiah [Gray] will pitch on Saturday.”
Friday, of course, is a 1:05/7:05 doubleheader with the Nationals’ NL East rivals. Is it safe to assume Evan Lee is going to start one of those games?
“We’ll see how these next two days go,” Martinez said. “The guys in the bullpen, they’re throwing as we speak, I want to see how those guys are doing, but right now I think Evan [Lee] and [Paolo] Espino are both available in the bullpen if we need them. We won’t use them for length-length, if we don’t have to, but they’re two viable arms if they need to pitch.”
Gray was originally supposed to start Monday’s series opener with Atlanta, but when rain delayed the first pitch minutes before the scheduled start time, and dragged on for more than 90 minutes, the Nats’ skipper didn’t want to send his 24-year-old starter out there in those circumstances, so he said they’d treat it as a between-starts bullpen and wait, then decide when he’d go again.
“You know, I honestly think — after talking with [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey, and talking to [Gray] a little bit,” Martinez said, they decided on, “... almost like bumping him a start, and giving him a little break. Like I said, this guy has done well for us, so, I told Hickey I think maybe we should just have him skip a start and just get on regular rest, regular routine, he’ll throw a bullpen again, and then get him ready for Saturday.”