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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Yadiel Hernández going on 60-Day IL; Seth Romero getting another shot...

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

Yadiel to 60-Day IL:

Washington’s Nationals placed outfielder Yadiel Hernández on the 10-Day Injured List back on August 20th, (retroactive to August 19th), with a left calf strain, then announced before the second of three with the Cincinnati Reds in D.C. last night, they were transferring their 34-year-old slugger to the 60-Day IL, effectively acknowledging the end of his third season in D.C.

In 94 games and 327 plate appearances before the injury, Hernández went 82 for 305 for a .269/.312/.410 line with 16 doubles, nine home runs, 19 walks, and 74 Ks on the season, and that’s where his line will stay for 2022 according to his manager.

Davey Martinez said when Hernández initially went on the IL they knew calf injuries were often tricky.

“You don’t really know when it comes to a calf. It’s a strain, so he’s going to work really hard to get back as soon as possible,” Martinez told reporters earlier this week. “But there’s no say of how long it’s going to take. So he’s kind of frustrated, but I told him, I said, ‘You’ve just got to work hard to get back. There’s nothing you do. He’s been playing well, been hitting good, and is a guy that has helped us in the middle of the lineup. So hopefully we get him back soon.”

Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

The fifth-year skipper reiterated his thoughts on calf injuries after the announcement on his outfielder moving to the 60-Day.

“As we’ve talked about, he’s had a calf [injury], and from past experience with these calves, it’s going to take a little bit longer than anticipates,” he explained.

“But those calves, you got to be really careful. So we didn’t think that he was going to be ready in time ... so we decided to put Yadi on the 60[-Day IL].”

Martinez said they needed a spot on the 40-Man roster for left-hander Seth Romero, (who returned from a rehab assignment, was reinstated him from the 60-Day Injured List, and then optioned to Double-A Harrisburg), but it was also the best thing for Hernandez in the long run.

“What I’d like to see,” Martinez said, “... is that when Yadi leaves here for this winter that he’s completely healthy. That he’s running without all the baseball [things], but that he’s running full tilt, can do some outfield stuff.

“And this way he doesn’t have to go home and worry about — he can just could have a normal winter and get ready for Spring Training.”

Just because they think it’s the best thing for him doesn’t mean Hernández was happy with the way things turned out.

“Yeah, he was frustrated,” Martinez said. “As anybody gets — everybody always feels good until they have to do something baseball activity-wise. So you know I think at this point with the medical staff and everybody just talking that we went through this last year with two players where we thought they were ready and it took them forever. Every time they tried to run, there was a setback. So for me and for everybody else and for Yadi, we just want to make sure that this is not a lingering situation, that he’s completely healthy. And that’s how we explained it to him. And he was down because he loves playing. That’s what he does.

“But I think he understood that we’re trying to look out for him and his future. Like I said, you don’t want to do any more damage to your calf because it’s tough to come back from those.”

Remember Seth Romero?:

The Nationals drafted lefty Seth Romero out of the University of Houston in the 1st Round of the 2017 Draft in spite of the fact he was dismissed for “conduct detrimental to the team,” in his draft year. GM Mike Rizzo took a risk with the 25th overall pick in spite of concerns about the southpaw’s off-field activities.

As he said on the night of the draft in June of ‘17, the Nationals got a pitcher they saw as a, “... very polished, high-upside, left-handed pitcher we had scouted extensively,” in the lead-up to the draft.

“We like the stuff,” Rizzo said. “Obviously the factors that got him down to us, there were questions about his off-the-field — we felt comfortable in the fact that we knew his history, our area scouts and our guys who know him, and we expect him to conduct himself with maturity and be a professional, and be accountable for his actions and to immerse him within our organization. We feel that we do a really good job — our player development guys do a really good job of teaching them the Nationals’ way, how to conduct themselves on the field, in the clubhouse, and in the community, and we expect nothing less from Seth.”

Three years after he was drafted and two years after Tommy John surgery, Romero made his MLB debut in 2020’s 60-game COVID season, but he fractured his hand bracing himself for a fall down steps away from the field, and missed the rest of the season. He dealt with some shoulder fatigue last year, and calf issues this year, after he was arrested for a DWI charge in the offseason this past winter.

The Nationals are sticking with the now-26-year-old pitcher, who’s thrown a total of 38 23 IP over the last two seasons, and giving him another opportunity to get it together, and have a career in the organization.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals - Game Two Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Will he be able to turn things around and take advantage of the opportunities he’s received?

“For me, honestly, that’s up to Seth Romero, right?” big league skipper Davey Martinez said in his pregame press conference on Saturday afternoon.

“I mean, he’s very talented and he’s had some issues. And we’ve all talked to him about it.

“But at this point, it’s up to him. He can definitely help us along the road, but he’s got to do the right things. As you know, I don’t tolerate a whole lot of things off the field. So he’s got to do the right things off the field as well as perform on the field. So only time will tell. He’s still fairly young, which is good. But all this depends on how Seth wants to move forward.”

It’s up to Romero to make the most of his talent, but Martinez said he is there to help when and if the young pitcher needs it.

“I am always willing to help him. He knows that. Even in Spring Training, we had a long conversation about — if he needs me, I’m here. All you got to do is pick up the phone.

“I’m always available. But he’s got to make that choice.”

The plan for now is to start building him back up going into the offseason, so he’s good to go next spring.

“We’re gonna get him out there and try to get him stretched out as much as possible. I know he threw two innings the other day and did well. So I think in his next outing he’ll probably be anywhere between 45 to 50 pitches. So we’ll see how that goes.”