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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Erick Fedde to IL; trying to stay focused as Trade Deadline approaches...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability on Saturday in D.C.

Fedde To IL; Abbott Up From AAA + More:

Erick Fedde felt something in his shoulder throughout the first start of the so-called second-half for the 29-year-old right-hander, and as manager Davey Martinez explained after Fedde went on the 15-Day IL (retroactive to July 27th) yesterday, he didn’t feel right in the days that followed either.

“The next day it bothered him, he tried to throw his bullpen, it was bothering him, so we’re just going to put him on the IL,” Martinez explained, “... see if we can get this thing to calm down, and hopefully it won’t take him long to rejoin the rotation.”

MLB: Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With Fedde unavailable for his scheduled start, Paolo Espino was bumped up a day, and the Nats’ skipper said Josiah Gray will start the series finale this afternoon on regular rest, and a bullpen arm joined the club as well, with Cory Abbott called up from Triple-A Rochester.

“He’s been throwing the ball well,” Martinez said of Abbott, who’s been up twice briefly over the first few months this season.

“We can use him today out of the bullpen if need be — because it’s — today would be his throw day, side day, so it will give us another bullpen day for him if he needs it, and if we don’t need him he’ll start on Tuesday.”

Abbott, who was selected off waivers from San Francisco in early May, has put up a 3.00 ERA (1 ER in 3.0 IP) in his two appearances in relief in the majors, while he’s put up a 5.08 ERA over 10 games (six starts) and 28 13 IP for the Rochester Red Wings between trips to the big leagues.

“We’ve had him up here quite a bit,” Martinez added. “He’s actually done well the little stint he’s been here, and after talking to [Triple-A Pitching Coach Rafael Chaves] and those guys down there, [Abbott has] been throwing the ball well, so we thought we’d bring him up.”

Rumor Mill:

There’s plenty of buzz around Juan Soto and a potential trade. Houston’s Astros are said to be interested in Josh Bell. Nelson Cruz was considered likely to get dealt when he signed a one-year deal back in March, and he’ll likely go too. Kyle Finnegan? Anyone else on a one-year or in the last year of a deal, they’ll probably go too if they can contribute to a team in contention. So what’s the mood in the clubhouse these days, knowing changes are really likely coming in the next few days?

“Honestly, I try not to really think about it until they tell me otherwise,” Davey Martinez said.

“Like I always say, I’m focused on today, I’m not going to worry about what can and what can’t happen in the next few days. The deadline is Tuesday, so we’ve still got some games here to play, so I’m not going to be concerned about what happens in the next few days, let’s worry about going out there today and competing.”

Martinez told reporters on Saturday his focus is on keeping his players focused on the task at hand, which is not easy these days.

“It’s definitely tough, and like I said, there’s a lot of rumors going around, a lot of different things. Look, back when I played there was no Twitter, there was no Instagram, there was nothing, right? You just read the paper. Now you can get information everywhere, so it’s a little bit different, they hear things from everywhere, but it is tough, it really is. I try to get these guys to focus on the day and keep them busy. We’re really trying them busy, keep them going, so that they’re not just sitting on the phone looking at what’s going on or hearing what’s going on, so, but it is difficult, ‘cause like I said, not only for me, but these guys build really strong friendships with guys, they never want to see their teammates go anywhere, but they understand that sometimes it does happen that way, but [on] the other hand, you’re going to get another teammate, and you’re going to have to start building a relationship with that guy, so they understand that part of it as well.”

As the manager put it, he knows he’ll probably lose some players with whom he’s formed a bond, but trades don’t end personal relationships.

“For me, like I said, you build these relationships with guys, and they leave and just because they’re on other teams, those relationships continue,” he said. “I just spent a couple days with guys at the All-Star Game that have been here, that I’ve had, and we had a good time together. You miss them, but as you know, part of this game is a business, and things happen, so right now I just focus on the guys that I have here, and try to get these guys better. We got some young guys that are getting better, and like I said, these guys they never really fully go away, they’re part of who we are, we’ve had some unbelievable years together, so we’re always going to be friends.”