clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Josh Bell in 2022; Keibert Ruiz versus Jon Berti + more...

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

Ring That Bell:

We couldn’t help thinking the decision to send catcher Riley Adams down to Triple-A to get regular at-bats and reps, (both behind the plate and at first base, as skipper Davey Martinez explained the plan with the 26-year-old catcher when he was optioned out and Tres Barrera came up earlier this week), might have something to do with the future at first base in the nation’s capital if it is the last month of Josh Bell’s time in a Nationals uniform. Who plays first right now if Josh Bell is unavailable, or if he’s traded before the August 2nd deadline?

Maikel Franco is listed as the backup first baseman on the totally unofficial depth chart for the organization, and there are other infielders Martinez could plug in if it was an emergency, but Bell has also played in 80 of 81 games so far, with a .317/.398/.504 line, 16 doubles, and 11 home runs going into Sunday’s game, and they’ll need a viable first baseman if they do trade the 29-year-old switch-hitter before he reaches free agency this winter.

[ed. note - “Bell went 2 for 4 with a double and a home run in Sunday’s loss.”]

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Martinez isn’t thinking about August 2nd right now though, or what he might do at first base if Bell is no longer with the team.

“For me, personally, right now, Josh Bell bats third, and I look at it like that every day, until something else happens,” Martinez said before the third of four with Miami in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.

“And for him, he’s been unbelievable, like he really — and I know he loves it here, and he tries to put everything behind him, and honestly, he’s really good about being where his feet are, I mean, I talk about that with him all the time, just, “Hey, you can’t control what happens in this game, but you can control what you do,’ and he’s been amazing at that. He’s having a great year, and I hope that they see that and they reward him a chance to go play in the All-Star Game, because I think he deserves it.”

“He’s been great. He really has,” Martinez added after Sunday’s loss. “I can sit here and talk for days about Josh not only on the field but off the field as well, with his teammates, he’s awesome, and he’s playing the best I’ve seen him play, he really is, so we got to keep him going. He’s doing well.”

Berti vs Ruiz:

Jon Berti stole two bases with Keibert Ruiz behind the plate in the first game of the Miami Marlins’ four-game stay in the nation’s capital on Friday night, but the Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez didn’t put it on Ruiz, who finished the night with a 30% CS% on the year in 2022, having thrown out 13 of 44 would-be base stealers.

“Yeah, Keibert, he threw the ball well,” the manager explained, but, “[starter Josiah Gray] was a 1.4-1.6 [seconds to the plate], and that — Berti can run, he’s got 23-24 stolen bases, we knew that coming in, we tried to pitch out once, and like I said, [Gray] was relatively slow. Sometimes first and third, we’re not going to throw the ball down, we’re going to eat it. Berti can steal bases, but I think Keibert threw the ball, got rid of it, threw the ball on the base, he’s just fast.”

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Berti stole one off Tres Barrera in Saturday afternoon’s game, for 25 total in 27 attempts this season, but he got thrown out for the third time on Sunday, when he tried to run on Ruiz in the top of the third inning and the catcher threw a strike to shortstop Luis García covering at second base. 14 of 45 CS (at that point).

Robles Still Learning:

Davey Martinez didn’t like the route Victor Robles took to Nick Fortes’s line drive to the left-center gap in the top of the fourth on Saturday. Robles tried to cut it off, but his route was off and the ball got by him, then a last-second dive, with which he got a glove on the ball, only served to push it onto the warning track where he finally got up and picked it up and threw it in as Fortes arrived at third, before scoring on a sac fly.

“He needs to create a better angle,” Martinez explained.

“He ran straight to the ball and then tried to get it. He just needs to know that he’s just got to cut that ball off and get it in as quick as possible.”

In his pregame press conference on Sunday morning, Martinez talked at length about the way they tried to show Robles what they’d prefer he do in that circumstance, and how he could work on taking better routes overall.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

“We showed him videos, I know [first base and outfield coach Eric Young, Jr.] talks to him a lot about his jumps, his first-step, his angles to the balls, balls that he knows he can’t catch, but he can cut off. That’s something that he needs to understand. He wants to catch everything. And he’s got to understand that sometimes you’ve got to concede the base hit, your job is to get the ball as quickly as possible and get it in as quickly as possible. So, you know, he got to the ball, like I said, he took a route where he went straight to the ball and then had to turn and go back behind the ball and then he tried to dive to stop it, where he just should have created an angle, and one, know who’s running. I don’t know — because that ball is in the gap, I don’t know if he had a play at second base, but just cut the ball off and get it in and just hopefully keep it as a double and then go from there.

“As we all know he’s got closing speed on balls, and sometimes that hurts him because he really believes that he can catch balls, cut balls off all the time, and try to throw guys out at second base, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen, so he’s got to kind of read the play, see what’s going on and understand that right there his job was just to cut the ball off and get it in as quick as possible.”