It was a slow afternoon in the Nationals clubhouse as they prepared to welcome the division champion Braves for a four-game series, the last home series of the season.
Per usual, manager Davey Martinez provided some injury updates to begin his pregame press conference ahead of a series opener.
Riley Adams, whose season was ended by a fractured left hamate bone, had successful surgery last week and already is on a good path toward recovery.
“Riley Adams still has his stitches in. He's getting them out,” Martinez said. “He's gonna recover fine. He's already itching (to get back). He's working his hand a little bit, so he's doing well.”
Travis Blankenhorn’s season seems to be over as well. Although he was placed on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday, retroactive back to Sept. 16, he received an injection to treat his plantar fasciitis that will keep him “out for a while,” per Martinez.
Also on Tuesday, Cade Cavalli threw for the first time since his Tommy John surgery in March, a significant step for the young right-hander. After taking the day off yesterday, Cavalli was back out on the field at Nats Park playing catch in another light session.
Again, it was only some light tossing from 45 feet, but the more he does it, the closer he gets to starting an actual throwing program. But that is still a long ways away.
While time is running out for Tanner Rainey to make an appearance in a major league game before season’s end, the right-hander, who is recovering from his own Tommy John surgery, threw a strong bullpen the other day and will throw a live BP session tomorrow at Nats Park.
“Tanner Rainey will throw a live BP on Friday,” Martinez said. “He looked good the other day in his bullpen.”
If he does pitch this season, Rainey is unlikely to make an appearance at Nats Park. With the Nationals traveling to Baltimore and Atlanta next week, will the recovering reliever join the team?
“I think the plan is to see how he does on Friday and then we'll go from there,” Martinez said. “If everything goes well, I can see him going with us. We'll see.”
If Rainey does in fact travel with the team, that could be a signal that the Nats are close to activating him off the 60-day IL.
* The Nationals and Commanders are celebrating the first of two “Capital Crossover” nights on each other’s home field. New Commanders owner Josh Harris is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. There also will be appearances by Commander's alumni and mascot Major Tuddy.
The two teams have done more crossover events since Harris officially bought the team over the summer. The two organizations are building a relationship similar to what the Nats have with the Capitals, Wizards, Mystics and other teams in town. The Nationals visited Commanders training camp last month.
“I think it's awesome,” Martinez said. “It's awesome for the city of D.C. and the surrounding areas. I'm a big fan of the Washington Commanders. I'm a big fan of the Capitals. I love our hometown sports, I really do. And I think it's great for the fans to see us combine and do something special. I know I'm planning on going to a few games myself this year. We'll see how that goes. But yeah, I'm excited about it.”
The “Capital Crossover” night at FedEx Field will take place on Oct. 5, when the Commanders host the Bears. A perfect game for Martinez to attend as he and Commanders head coach Ron Rivera got to know each other well while playing in Chicago at the same time in the 1980s: Martinez as an outfielder with the Cubs (1986-88) and Rivera as a linebacker with the Bears (1984-1992).
“He was a beast. I'm gonna tell you that right now,” Martinez said of Rivera. “I watched those guys when they were with the Bears and they were pretty good. Their defense was something else, man. It was a lot of fun watching those guys. You'd never know. He's really quiet. But when he played, it didn't seem that way. So it was fun to watch those guys play.”