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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on starting pitching plans; Getting Juan Soto out of the dugout...

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

Pitching Plans:

We finally know! Sort of! With five games in four days (starting with last night’s opener with Philly in D.C.), it was clear the Washington Nationals would need to bring up at least an arm, and manager Davey Martinez announced in his pregame press conference with reporters it was going to be Joan Adon as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader. And Adon’s going to start the second of three with the Philadelphia Phillies this afternoon.

“We — [Joan] Adon has been stretched out. So we’re going to pitch him in Game 1. He’ll be our 27th man. And then we’ll use [Paolo] Espino for the second game and get him as far as we can take him, but we’re hoping that he can give us 4-5 innings.”

Adon, 23, debuted in the majors in Game 162 of 162 last season, and was part of the major league rotation in the first two-plus months this season, going (1-10) with a 6.95 ERA, a 5.64 FIP, 35 walks, 44 Ks, and a .283/.393/.466 line against in 12 starts and 55 23 innings pitched before he was optioned out to Triple-A Rochester earlier this month.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The hope, Martinez said, is to use Adon in the first of two today, since he is stretched out, and then have all hands on deck for the nightcap, with Espino starting and the rest of the bullpen going when he’s spent.

Evan Lee was seemingly in the mix for one of the games in the doubleheader, but Martinez said he’s going to hold the left-hander back, hopefully, so he can piggyback with Espino as he did previously, and provide some length since he was stretched out as a starter before a move to the pen after a start in his MLB debut.

“Yeah, we’re going to try to hold [Lee] back. The thing is, looking at the whole next week and everything and moving forward, being able to utilize Evan. Looking at [the Phillies’] lineup, they’ve got lefties — being able to use him out of the bullpen if we need to, and also too if we don’t, then we can use him tomorrow for length as well if we need to, but it’s nice to have him, to be able to — we have two lefties now. We’re trying to see how [Francisco] Pérez feels, because he’s thrown a lot, but as of right now he said he felt good, so it’s nice to have those two lefties in the bullpen, especially with these guys coming in, so we wanted to do it that way and see what happens.”

Soto Back In Better For Martinez:

Juan Soto played in each of the first 63 games this season, started in each of the first 63, but he banged his knee on the dugout bench late in this past Monday night’s game, and after he limped around the outfield in the top of the ninth, his manager hit for him in the home-half of the inning. Soto didn’t play in either of the next two games, as he waited to get the okay from the team to return, and apparently frustrated Davey Martinez.

“Yesterday was kind of a little much,” Martinez said of Soto pestering him on night two as a bench player this season, and also cheering on his teammates vociferously.

“It was more like a Max Scherzer-style,” the fifth-year skipper joked. “It was more, ‘Stay over there, let me be over here.’ But yeah, no, he always pulls for his teammates and screams and hollers, that’s just who he is, I mean, like I said, he loves the game.”

Milwaukee Brewers v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

What changed for Soto and convinced the manager his 23-year-old right fielder was good to return to the lineup last night?

Martinez said the pain from what he’d previously described as a patella tendon contusion, had subsided enough for Soto to return.

“It was probably a pretty good bruise, but he feels a lot better,” the skipper explained.

“He got ready during the game yesterday, which — he came up yesterday and told me, ‘Hey, I just hit, I ran, if you need me to pinch hit, I’m ready.’ I said, ‘I appreciate that.’”