TORONTO - Matt Adams, as surmised, is not in the Nationals lineup this afternoon. Now the club can only wait to find out how many more games (if any) the slugger is going to need to miss with an injured left index finger.
Adams, who was struck by a pitch while squaring around to bunt Friday night, had an X-ray taken after the game, the results of which appear to have been inconclusive. Manager Davey Martinez said, “it didn’t really show much.”
“You can’t even tell,” Martinez said when asked specifically if the X-rays results were negative. “I guess because apparently there are so many little things in there. So (team orthopedist Robin West) is going to look at it again. He’ll probably get another one, just to make sure.”
This much the Nationals do know: Adams’ finger is still swollen and sore. He can bend it, but he was wearing a splint and in street clothes this afternoon as his teammates took batting practice.
“He said he just needed a day,” Martinez said, “and then we’ll see where he’s at.”
With Adams out at least for today’s game, and with right-hander Marco Estrada starting for the Blue Jays, Martinez decided to bypass Mark Reynolds as his first baseman and instead give that nod to Daniel Murphy. It’s Murphy’s first appearance in the field this season after three games as DH to test out his surgically repaired knee, and it’s his first appearance at first base since 2016.
“We talked a couple days ago, and he said he felt like he was ready to play second,” Martinez said. “And he played some first down in the minor leagues (during his recent rehab assignment) and did well. I talked to him last night, and he’s all for it.”
Murphy was going to need to test himself out in the field sometime soon, with the Nationals returning home Monday and no longer able to use a designated hitter. This could be a softer opening for him, with less ground to cover at first base than second base.
“It’s a lot easier than the middle of the field, but he’s still got to run to first base a lot,” Martinez said. “But with Max (Scherzer) pitching, being a fly ball pitcher, we thought it would be perfect for him to get out there and test it out.”
In other news ...
* Brandon Kintzler’s forearm is feeling better, and he may try to begin throwing Monday or Tuesday. Kintzler, out one week with a flexor strain, is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday, but he will probably need more time than that so he can throw off a bullpen mound before appearing in a game.
* Though they haven’t officially decided on a starter for Monday night’s makeup game against the Yankees (which follows the completion of the two clubs’ suspended game), Martinez suggested Erick Fedde is likely to get the nod.
Fedde, who gave up four runs in five innings Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, would be on turn to make the start. And Martinez appears comfortable letting him face the same opponent again.
“He’s got to go out there and just be himself and keep us in the game like he did the other day,” the manager said. “I don’t think anything changes. He’s got a better understanding how he wants to face those guys, too. It would be kind of interesting to see how he reacts facing the same team again.”
The Nationals also need a starter for Tuesday’s series opener against the Orioles, with both Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson on the DL. The most likely option for that assignment appears to be Jefry Rodriguez, who pitched five innings for Double-A Harrisburg on Thursday and is lined up to pitch again Tuesday.
Update: We’ve got a pitchers’ duel today, folks. Max Scherzer and Marco Estrada were posting nothing but zeros -until Scherzer finally succumbed in the bottom of the fifth. After an errant pitch hit No. 8 batter Luke Maile, Scherzer hung a slider to Devon Travis and watched as the No. 9 batter launched it to left field for a two-run homer, his second of the series. The Nats have done next-to-nothing against Estrada, who has allowed one hit (Michael A. Taylor’s bunt single) and one walk (Anthony Rendon) and that’s it. Something’s going to have to change soon, with the Nationals now trailing 2-0 after five.
Update II: That’s it. Final score: 2-0 Blue Jays. The Nats have been shut out three times in their last five games. They’ve been held to five hits or fewer in seven of their last 13 games.