Abrams returns to lineup, Cavalli cruises through rehab start

DENVER – CJ Abrams is back in the Nationals’ lineup tonight, his left wrist taped up as he tries to protect a ganglion cyst that developed earlier in the week and kept him from playing the last two days.

“I’m not really sure what that is,” he said. “But it can’t get worse, so I’m good for tonight.”

The cyst is on the palm side of Abrams’ wrist, under the skin but pushing up slightly to create a small bump. He first noticed it prior to Wednesday’s game, at which point the Nats scratched him from the lineup. He also sat out Thursday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks but was showing signs of improvement that led him to believe he’d be OK for tonight’s game against the Rockies.

Because the cyst is on his left wrist, Abrams has no issues throwing. He simply has to deal with a little bit of discomfort when he bats.

“I still don’t know,” he said when asked how it occurred. “Just swinging, I guess. That’s when it hurts the most.”

Abrams took extra swings in the batting tunnel this afternoon before the Nationals officially announced their lineup against Colorado. He participated fully in batting practice and pregame fielding drills and showed no issues.

“I just watched him take some batting practice, and he’s swinging it pretty good,” manager Davey Martinez said. “I told him just to be careful around the base and sliding. Don’t reaggravate it. But he was swinging the bat well.”

* Cade Cavalli cruised through his rehab start tonight for Single-A Wilmington, an encouraging sign for the right-hander as he moves closer to his return from Tommy John surgery.

Cavalli tossed three scoreless innings on only 35 pitches, allowing one Aberdeen batter to reach base (via walk) and striking out three.

This was Cavalli’s first game appearance on May 30, when he walked three batters and hit another and threw 52 pitches in only 2 2/3 innings for Wilmington. The Nationals put a pause on his rehab assignment after that and had him spend the last three weeks working out with the big league club, fine-tuning his mechanics. After a strong, two-inning simulated game last weekend, he was cleared to start up the rehab assignment again.

The club hasn’t offered up a timetable for Cavalli’s eventual activation off the 60-day injured list. But the 2020 first-round pick has long mentioned June or July as the projected target date, and it appears he’s still on track to meet that mark.

* Jose A. Ferrer threw to live hitters in West Palm Beach, the first time the left-hander has done that since suffering a strained lat muscle in spring training.

Martinez said the reliever’s fastball registered 96-99 mph.

“It’s awesome,” the manager said. “We’re excited that he’s feeling good. Now it’s just about repetition.”

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