Nats send Robles to Triple-A for rehab, claim lefty off waivers

Victor Robles is ready to start playing in games again. Another week or so and he should be ready to play for the Nationals again.

Robles will join Triple-A Rochester on a rehab assignment Friday, the final step in the outfielder’s recovery from a back injury that has sidelined him more than a month.

“Hopefully everything goes well and we get him back here soon,” manager Davey Martinez said.

Robles departed Thursday and is expected to play four innings for Rochester, which is on the road at Worcester, on Friday. Given the amount of time he has missed, he will likely build up his workload over several days and could spend a full week on the rehab assignment before the Nats decide to activate him off the 10-day IL.

“He’s got to go out there and play, start getting some at-bats,” Martinez said. “I want to see him do everything that he normally does. If he gets an opportunity to steal some bases, take the extra bases, play good defense, all that stuff.”

Robles was off to a good start this season, batting .292 with a .388 on-base percentage and .748 OPS in 31 games before he was hurt sliding into second base in Arizona on May 6. Though it was only a month’s worth of play, the 26-year-old did own an above-average OPS-plus of 113 for the first time since 2018 (when he played in only 21 games).

The Nationals have gone with Alex Call in center field in Robles’ absence, and though Call has done well defensively, he has struggled at the plate to the tune of a .220/.316/.310 slash line.

Seeking more offensive punch, Martinez actually planned to have Lane Thomas start in center field Thursday against the Diamondbacks, with utilityman Ildemaro Vargas in right field for the first time. That plan, of course, never actually came to fruition because the game was postponed due to hazardous air quality in the D.C. region.

“He’s been swinging the bat really well,” Martinez said of Vargas, who is batting .320/.333/.540 but has played in only 19 of the Nationals’ first 61 games. “I’m trying to find ways to get him in there somewhere.”

* The Nationals claimed reliever Joe La Sorsa off waivers from the Rays on Thursday, adding a young left-hander with some solid pitching numbers to their organization.

La Sorsa, 25, made his major league debut for Tampa Bay last week, and in two relief appearances allowed just one run on three hits over 4 1/3 innings. But he was designated for assignment due to a roster crunch, and the Nats scooped him up before he could clear waivers.

The Nationals immediately optioned La Sorsa to Triple-A, but they’ll keep a close eye on him in hopes he might prove worthy of a promotion and help fill a major void in their bullpen, which has been without a left-hander since Anthony Banda was designated for assignment in late-April.

La Sorsa had good numbers in the minors, with a 2.87 ERA and 1.021 WHIP across four seasons in the Rays’ farm system. He struck out 201 batters in 203 2/3 innings while issuing only 46 walks.

Orioles recall Vespi, option Zimmermann
Nats claim left-handed pitcher Joe La Sorsa

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to