clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Joey Meneses, Cole Henry & Erick Fedde + more...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability from San Diego yesterday...

Finding Meneses:

With a double in the third of his four plate appearances in the series finale with the Chicago Cubs in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, Joey Meneses, Washington’s 30-year-old, rookie slugger extended a hit streak to 11-straight over which he was 16 for 41 (.390/.432/.707) with one double and four home runs. He’s been up with the Nationals for 13 games total, brought up to the majors after the club dealt both Juan Soto and Josh Bell to San Diego’s Padres this year at the trade deadline.

GM Mike Rizzo talked to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies earlier this month about how the club’s scouts found and recommended signing Meneses this year, before he tore the cover off the ball at Triple-A Rochester to earn his first opportunity in the majors after a long 10-year career spent in the minors and playing internationally.

“Joey is a great example of stick-to-it-iveness and what it takes to grind your way through the minor leagues to get to the big leagues and reach your dream,” Rizzo told the Junkies.

“And it’s a good scouting story for our people who had seen him play for years in the minor leagues, and saw him play in Mexico a lot. So he was a guy that we felt that could give us some thump from the right side in Triple-A, help that club, and would be a piece for us to go reach for if we needed it, which we did, after the trade deadline, and those are success stories. They’re happy stories, they’re upbeat stories, because this guy has obviously earned every at-bat he’s gotten in the big leagues, and the most important part, he’s taken advantage of it. So he’s a great story of a guy who never gave up on his dream, and a good story about our international scouts who saw him play internationally and told me to pull his name and to sign him to a minor league contract.”

Meneses put up a combined .281/.338/.431 in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Boston’s systems before joining Washington’s organization this year, so with the bat he has, why did he end up waiting so long for his first opportunity in the big leagues?

MLB: Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

“I think just certain players have to prove themselves at each and every level and he was one of those guys,” Rizzo told The Sports Junkies in this past Wednesday’s visit.

“He was a bat-first guy that you didn’t have a real position for him. Our scouts saw him play in the Mexican League and really liked his approach at the place and that type of thing, and signed him and he just continued to hit.

“Every place we put him in Triple-A, he played the position as well as he could and [swung] the bat, and I think that he certainly earned the opportunity to get to the big leagues and play in the big leagues, and this was a good situation for him, and he’s made the most of it.”

“So I think that’s the reason for some of these guys, because there’s no hype on these players, and they’re really kind of two-tool type of guys, hit and power, and you’ve got to find a place to put them, and you just have to struggle and persevere throughout your career, and he’s done that.”

The GM in D.C. found an obvious comp for Meneses on the Nationals’ roster.

“A lot like — I kind of compare him to [Yadiel] Hernández, a guy who had to work his way through, and got to the big leagues at a late age, but has proven that he can hit at each level.”

Henry Having TOS:

Cole Henry is the second-highest ranked pitcher (and ranked 6th overall) in the Nationals’ system on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top prospects in Washington’s organization, and he’s been talked about as a part of the future competitive teams for the club which is in Year 2 of a reboot, but unfortunately he’s going to have thoracic outlet surgery later this month, as 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Grant Paulsen reported on Wednesday night:

Earlier in the day on Wednesday, GM Mike Rizzo discussed Henry as part of the next wave of young starters who would make an impact in the majors at some point in the near future, telling 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies the players they consider part of the core of the next competitive team are making progress.

“When you see a lineup up the middle [that’s] young, strong, and talented, like a [Keibert] Ruiz, [CJ] Abrams at shortstop, Luis García at second, a [Victor] Robles in center field, and ... Josiah Gray and you get back [MacKenzie] Gore, and you see the young guys like [Cade] Cavalli and Henry and those young pitchers coming up in the near future, that’s what this [reboot] is all about.”

Now Henry’s future is uncertain, as we’ve seen with both Will Harris and Stephen Strasburg, who’ve both had TOS surgery in the last couple years.

“Honestly, it really stings,” manager Davey Martinez said of Henry’s diagnosis before last night’s series opener in San Diego. “He’s a guy that we counted on here in the future. He’s done well in the short amount of time he’s pitched, but he’s had these injuries, these nagging injuries. I just hope that — as I said before, this surgery is something fairly new, you don’t know what’s going to come out of it, as we all know, so hopefully he comes out of it in good shape, and he can get back on that mound as soon as possible.”

The results thus far for Harris and Strasburg post-TOS aren’t exactly inspiring confidence though.

“I don’t know much about this thoracic outlet surgery, but it’s different for everybody, as we see,” Martinez continued, “... so we’ll see how he comes out it and then we’ll go from there, but whenever somebody has to have surgery, there is always some high concern of when they’ll be back.”

Fedde Returning/6-Man Rotation?:

Erick Fedde, in his first start back after landing on the IL on July 30th with inflammation in his right shoulder, tossed four scoreless for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings Wednesday night, walking one and striking out four in a 63-pitch, 37-strike outing which was shortened by a rain delay.

He was back with the team in San Diego for the start of their four-game set with the Padres last night, and his manager said his next outing will likely be in the Nationals’ rotation.

“I talked to him today, he said he felt really good,” Martinez told reporters before last night’s game. “It got a little shortened, he wished that he could go back out there, but he did finish an inning in the bullpen, so we’ll see how he feels throwing his next bullpen. If everything goes well, I could see him possibly starting here again for us after the day off [Monday]. I’m going to sit with [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey and redo our pitching, and then we’ll go from there.”

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

If Fedde’s ready to return, what are the plans for the rotation? Do they bump veteran Aníbal Sánchez, who’s struggled, but put together a good outing last night? Do they skip some of Josiah Gray’s starts as they manage his innings/pitches in his first full season? Has the club brass had a conversation about what to do with the starting mix going forward?

“We’re going to look at all our options,” Martinez said. “Whether we go to a six-man rotation, possibly? We’ve got all these days off coming up in September, so we can actually push [Gray] back some. But we definitely want to make sure that we keep an eye on his innings. I don’t want him to exceed — I don’t want to put a number on it, but we’re getting close to where I feel like he could use a break. So we’ll see as we get along. He says he feels great, but like I said, we’re building here for the future, and he’s a big part of our future. But I’d like to see him go out there. He’s done some good stuff over the last couple starts. I want to continue to build that and continue to get him consistent in what we’re trying to do and then we’ll see where we’re at from there.”