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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Aníbal Sánchez; rotation plans; and Victor Arano...

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

Sánchez Makes Another Rehab Start:

Davey Martinez said on Thursday he was hoping Aníbal Sánchez would get up to around five innings and 75 pitches in his fourth rehab start Friday night, pitching with the club’s Triple-A affiliate.

“He says he feels good, but we still got to build him up,” Martinez told reporters in advance of Friday night’s opener for the Washington in Atlanta, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco.

“We got to understand that he’s missed a lot. He didn’t pitch for a while, so we want to make sure that when he comes back, he’s healthy,” Martinez said of the starter who was with their club for the World Series run in 2019, and in 2020’s 60-game campaign before he took 2021 off then signed back with the Nationals this year.

A cervical nerve impingement in his neck coming out of Spring Training delayed the start of the season for Sánchez, but he’s been back on the mound for the last few weeks, working to try to get back to the big leagues.

“So hopefully, we get him at least five innings, maybe 75 pitches, and then we’ll see what happens from there.”

Martinez was asked before the outing what the Nationals’ brass would look for to let them know Sánchez was ready to get the first start of his 16th major league season in?

“We’re looking at everything,” he explained. “My biggest thing, when he comes back is that he’s fully healthy.

“But we’re watching his mechanics. We get a lot of stuff, video from the games that he’s pitching. So we’ll keep an eye on all that stuff. But like I said, it’s just building him up. He hasn’t pitched in a couple years, so we want to get him right.”

The 38-year-old veteran got through 5 13 on 88 pitches, with four hits, three walks, and two runs, one earned, allowed.

Washington Nationals v. Miami Marlins Photo by Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images

“5 13, 87 pitches,” Martinez said when asked about the outing before the second of three in Atlanta on Saturday. “He threw the ball well. He had a couple of walks in there, but he felt good. So today, he’ll rest, we’ll throw a bullpen, we’ll see where he’s at, and then we’ll figure out what’s next for him.”

Before you go penciling him into Jackson Tetreault/Joan Adon’s spot in the rotation, the Nats’ skipper said he’d talk to pitching coach Jim Hickey and decide what to do next.

“I’ll sit down with Hickey,” Martinez said.

“You know, the biggest thing is trying to get through these next couple of days, and get to that day off [on Monday], and then we can reset. We’ll reset everything after that.”

“We’ll have that day off and then we’ll regroup, and then we get some time off after next week for four days, and then we’ll definitely set everything up then.”

How is Sánchez handling the whole process, after the injury, and now through the build-up to his eventual return.

“Aníbal is a very positive guy, so you know he understands,” Martinez said.

“He’s been doing this for a long time. Obviously, when you get hurt and you’re out for such a period of time, you do get a little frustrated. But he’s been good through the whole process. He really has. He’s been sticking with it, he’s been strengthening. He’s done a lot of things to keep himself going, so that when he did have this rehab, as you can see, it hasn’t been — he’s been doing pretty good. He’s already up to [88] pitches. So, now it’s just a matter of repeating it every five days, and that’s where we’re at right now. But he said he felt great. He had no issues. Like I said, we’ll see how he feels, he’ll throw another bullpen, and we’ll see how he feels then.”

Quick Bullpen Hit:

Victor Arano landed on the IL on June 6th, after injuring his left knee on a play in the infield in a June 5th game on the road in Cincinnati, and manager Davey Martinez later said it was a bone bruise in his knee.

Arano, 27, threw a scoreless inning in relief on Friday night for the Florida Complex League (FCL) Nationals, and his manager talked before Saturday’s game in Atlanta about how long the reliever will need to build back up.

Martinez told reporters earlier last weekend Arano is close, since it wasn’t an arm injury and he was able to stay sharp while he waited for the knee to heal.

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

“He’s close, because it wasn’t his arm, it was his leg, his leg is doing fine,” Martinez said. “So he threw a really good bullpen the other day and threw the ball really well, so we’re going to try to ramp him up as quick as we can, try to get him back here, but he’s throwing the ball fine, he feels good. There’s one other test that he’s doing today, agility stuff, to get him to move around, to kind of emulate getting off the mound and doing some PFPs, so he’s going to do that today, and if that goes well, I think he’ll be ready to go face some hitters in Florida, and then we’ll probably send him out for a quick rehab.”

He provided an update on Arano on Saturday.

“Arano is actually throwing the ball well. He should be close. but like I’ve said, I don’t like to put a timetable on anything, because I mean for us it was a serious injury to his knee, but his arm feels good, he’s throwing the ball well, hopefully we got to get him again, stretched out, back-to-back days, multiple inning, maybe get him up for one out and get him back in the game the next inning and then we’ll go from there, but I think he should be relatively close if things keep progressing the way they are.”