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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Keibert Ruiz’s defense; Victor Arano’s injury + more...

Catch up on the latest Nationals news before the start of their three-game set with the Marlins...

DSG Returns; Arano To IL:

Before the series finale with the Cincinnati Reds in Ohio’s Great American Ball Park Sunday, Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez talked with reporters about what he heard from Dee Strange-Gordon, the Nats’ 34-year-old in/outfielder, who was away from the team for the birth of his son.

“He’s doing well, yeah,” Martinez said, explaining that Gordon would meet up with the team on the next stop on their road trip. “He’s gonna meet us in Miami.”

“We have the day off tomorrow, so I told him to just stay at home, and meet us Tuesday. But the family’s doing good, baby’s good, mommy’s good, so everything’s good.”

On the off-day, the club announced Strange-Gorgon’s return from the paternity list, but also placed a reliever on the 15-Day IL:

“The Nationals placed right-handed pitcher Víctor Arano on the 15-day Injured List with left knee inflammation and reinstated infielder/outfielder Dee Strange-Gordon from the Paternity List.”

Arano injured his left knee fielding a ball hit towards first base late in the series finale with the Reds.

Washington Nationals v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

“He just buckled when he went down,” Martinez said. “We’re going to get him an MRI to see what’s going on and then we’ll know more hopefully by Tuesday.”

“We don’t know if it’s a hamstring or the back of the knee, so he’s pretty tender, so we’ll see after the MRI what’s going on.”

Obviously, it was an issue with his knee. No further word on the extent of the injury...

Bullpen Mix:

Going into the series finale with the Reds, Davey Martinez said he hadn’t yet spoken with his relievers as he does every day to gauge their availability and lay out a plan for the game, but as far as he knew no one was unavailable.

“As of right now, no,” he explained. “I’ll talk to [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey and see how these guys are feeling.”

Patrick Corbin gave the Nationals six innings, Arano threw a scoreless seventh, then injured his knee in the eighth. Erasmo Ramírez finished off the inning, and with a 5-4 lead, Martinez turned to veteran Steve Cishek (closer Tanner Rainey pitched in each of the previous two games), and Cishek earned his first save with a scoreless inning in which a pair of runners reached base but catcher Keibert Ruiz and Josh Bell combined for a pickoff or back pick at first to catch Reds’ center fielder Nick Senzel for out No. 3.

“Keibert and Josh, we work on that stuff, and perfect timing, it was a great play, good heads up play by Keibert and Josh Bell to get us out of that last inning,” Martinez said after the win.

“It was something that we talked about a little bit yesterday,” Bell told MASN’s Dan Kolko when he spoke on the field after the win. “Senzel was getting a pretty big secondary lead with a runner in front of him, so I think Keibert saw it, I locked it in, and was able to make that perfect throw for me.”

The out call at first was reviewed, but couldn’t be overturned. Kolko asked Bell if he did get the tag in there.

“Oh for sure, without a doubt,” he said with a grin.

Ruiz’s Defense:

While 23-year-old catcher Keibert Ruiz did make a great play at the end of the win over the Reds on Sunday, the home team was able to run on the backstop and lefty Patrick Corbin.

They were able to steal 3 of 4 bases they tried to swipe, leaving the catcher with a total of 10 of 28 runners caught stealing on the season (36% CS%).

Washington Nationals v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

It wasn’t all on Ruiz, his manager said.

“I told him, hey, part of it is our pitchers got to be able to hold runners, but he played really good defense, made some really good blocks behind the plate with Corbin. I’m not worried about Keibert’s defense, he’s pretty good back there.”