Cavalli Talk With Cavalli, Rizzo, and Martinez:
Davey Martinez talked at length on Tuesday afternoon about the Washington Nationals’ decision to put 24-year-old, 2020 1st Round pick Cade Cavalli on the IL with inflammation in his right shoulder after the top pitching prospect in the organization made his MLB debut last Friday with a 4 1⁄3-inning, 99-pitch outing, in which he gave up six hits, two walks, and seven runs, while striking out six.
“He threw in the game, came back the next day, was going to do his routine, he was playing catch, after about 10 throws, he said he felt tight in the shoulder area,” Martinez explained.
“So we shut him down. He came in, we got him an MRI right away. ... everything looks good — except for he has a little bit of inflammation around the capsule. But the labrum, tendons, the rotator cuff, everything’s very, very clean. So we’re gonna be very, very cautious.”
The plan, as of now, is to shut Cavalli down for two weeks and see how the shoulder reacts once the inflammation has gone down.
“The MRI images were good,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning. “The important parts of the shoulder, the labrum and the rotator cuff were clean, you know the inflammation in there was something that if this was a pennant race in September we’d skip him a start, and try to push him through it if he was more of an experienced pitcher, but at this point of the season why would we risk it?
“It’s something that we — he came out of the start, felt good, the next day he had some inflammation in a place where it’s not normal soreness, whereas everyone’s got post-pitching soreness, every pitcher, this was not normal, so we were careful with him and because of that we got him an MRI and the MRI actually eased some of our concerns.”
Cade Cavalli discussed why it was important for him to address his right shoulder discomfort as soon as he experienced it vs. trying to pitch through it. #Nationals @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/vIh8G2lA9D— Jessica Camerato (@JessicaCamerato) August 31, 2022
“I just woke up with some abnormal soreness,” Cavalli told reporters after he was officially placed on the IL before Wednesday’s game, “... and just figured it was going to go away, and I just went through my whole routine on Saturday, and went out to go play catch with [bullpen catcher/team translator Octavio Martinez], and I was feeling some discomfort in that area, and just made them aware of it, and went ahead, and very proactive, got [MRI] images, and came back good, it was just something in the capsule, and it was a clean image, so just a little bit of inflammation. We’re going to — two weeks no-throw, and I worked out today. I’m not going to be shutting it down completely, we got something to work forward to. There’s still some season left, and that’s where my head is at.
“I want to get back, and I want to go compete again this year for this club.”
Martinez held open the possibility Cavalli will just be told he’s done for the season after the two weeks are up, but he said he wanted to keep the motivation there to put the work in to see if the starter might be able to return. But the decision to shut him down for now was an easy one for the Nationals’ GM.
“The doctor liked what the cuff and the labrum looked like, and it was a fairly easy decision for me to just say we’re going to take the cautious route here and shut him down,” as Rizzo told the Junkies. “And if we were in June or July, you’d shut him down, put him on the 15-Day [IL] and ramp him back up to pitch, and he’d pitch soon after that, but it doesn’t make sense in his second full season of pitching in his life — you guys know he was a two-way player in college, so — he’s new to this pitching. Twenty-one starts this season, he’s really developed into the guy that we’re hoping can lead our staff moving forward in the future, really developed in the minor leagues with our Triple-A pitching coach a terrific changeup to add to his three plus pitches already, so he’s now a four-pitch mix guy, and fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup has been very effective.
“He’s come a long way this year, he’s learned a lot, pitched at the highest level in the minor leagues, got his taste of the big leagues, and hopefully he takes that into the offseason and into Spring Training next season for us.”
In announcing the Nationals would call catcher Tres Barrera back up with rosters expanding by two today, Davey Martinez said adding a third catcher to the mix in the majors might let him give Keibert Ruiz some rest down the stretch in a long season for the 24-year-old, who’s played in 103 games so far this season (and taken a beating behind the plate recently).
“I think as of right now we’re going to bring Tres Barrera back to be a third catcher. I don’t know who the pitcher is yet, but we will bring back another pitcher,” Martinez explained.
GM Mike Rizzo had confirmed as much in his weekly visit with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies early on Wednesday morning.
“We haven’t made that decision full yet. It will probably be a pitcher and a position player, and we haven’t made the pinpoint decision of who we’re going to bring up yet.”
Martinez was asked why he thought Barrera made sense as an addition to the big league roster.
“Yeah, I want to have a third catcher,” he explained.
“You know, I talked about maybe Riley Adams sometimes DH-ing and maybe giving Keibert a few more days off in the next five weeks, because he’s played a lot and he’s been beat up a little bit.
“But I definitely would like to have Tres back here, and this way we can do different things, whether we want to even DH Keibert one day, we can do that as well.”
And, he acknowledge, Ruiz could use some time off at this point, with the young catcher having played the third-most games as a catcher in the majors this season.
“It’s a brutal position,” Martinez said. “They get beat up, they really do. But he’s done a great job of handling it. The big thing I really was afraid of was all the foul tips he’s got to the head. Regardless of what anybody says, you get that many, it’s tough. And we’ve seen him sometimes kind of have that look in his eye where it takes him a few minutes to get things straightened out, but he always says he’s good. And the next day we keep an eye on him and he says he’s good. But it’s getting to the point now where, you know, how much do you run him out there? And I looked back and I have done a pretty good job of getting him days off and getting other guys in there like Riley and Tres, but we’ll continue to do that. But the kid loves to play. He doesn’t ever want to come out of the game, and he doesn’t like not playing. He’s had conversations with me about day games after night games, that he can do it, that he wants to play, and I said, ‘Hey, there will come a time where you will do that. Right now we’re going to take it easy on you and give you a break,’ and like I said, Riley and Tres are here, and I want to see them play as well, and they need to get some at-bats.
“He loves playing, hey man, that’s just who he is.”
Robles’s TOOTBLANs; Martinez’s Thoughts:
Are you one of those fans pulling your hair out, and yelling from the stands, or sitting at home yelling at your TV, whenever Victor Robles makes an ill-advised play on the bases, getting thrown out again, at a most inopportune moment?
Same. Not Davey Martinez though. Don’t get us wrong. He doesn’t like it when Robles does make mistakes. Like the play on Tuesday when he singled to start the fifth, then was thrown out trying for second one out later. Robles went on the first move from left-hander Cole Irvin, who threw to first, and the A’s got the out at second, with Robles sliding in late, into the infielder, Jonah Bride, and then reaching out to make sure the infielder was okay on a close play (and coming off the base as he did). Martinez did. not. like. it.
“He wasn’t supposed to be running,” Martinez said after a 10-6 loss to the Oakland A’s.
“But he went first move. Honestly. I think we would have challenged it. It looked like he was pretty close to where he — the guy tagged him high, he was on the base, but he came off the base to give the guy a hug. So the guy tagged him, so he was out. He got called initially out, but it was a lot closer than you think.”
There was a hint of “I don’t know why he did that” to the “give the guy a hug” part. But he was asked on Wednesday if there was a point at which the mistakes start leading to sitting Robles when he makes them and Martinez rejected the idea.
“Look, Vic’s mistakes are purely — he’s trying to be the aggressor all the time. Right? He plays — he plays the game with no fear, and sometimes my teachings with him is that sometimes you got to put the brakes on and understand the game. What transpires when you do something, and that’s what I try to do with him every day, just teach him that, ‘Hey, you know, okay, you’re on first base, we’re down a couple runs, whatever, we need baserunners. So there’s no sense in running into an out right here.’ And, ‘Do you agree?’ And he’ll say, ‘Yes,’ and I’ll ask him why, and he’ll say, ‘My run doesn’t really mean anything.’ And I said, ‘Perfect.’
“But I’m never going to abuse a kid for trying the way that he tries, because he tries to be aggressive, he tries to get things going, he brings energy, and I like that. But I also like the fact that when he does do that he’s got to do it in a smart way. And that’s what I’m trying to teach him.”