Nats still waiting to announce Wednesday starter

The identity of the Nationals’ starting pitcher for Wednesday’s game against the Cubs remains a mystery, but Davey Martinez insists the big reveal is coming.

“We’ll announce it after the game,” the manager said this afternoon. “Let’s get through today first.”

Here’s what we do know:

* The Nationals already needed a fill-in starter to account for Friday’s rainout and Saturday’s doubleheader, which created six games in five days on the schedule.

* They’ll need to account for more than just a fill-in start after Chad Kuhl landed on the 15-day injured list with a right foot ailment, though Kuhl’s spot in the rotation won’t come up until Monday in San Francisco.

* Cory Abbott, who replaced Kuhl on the active roster, isn’t in a position to come back and start Wednesday after tossing two innings of relief during Monday’s 5-1 loss to Chicago.

* Joan Adon is slated to start for Triple-A Rochester tonight, eliminating the young right-hander from consideration.

* Paolo Espino pitched four innings for Rochester on Saturday in his return from a hamstring strain and would be on short rest if called up to start Wednesday in D.C.

That would appear to leave two remaining candidates out of the Triple-A rotation: Wily Peralta and Jake Irvin. Peralta, who debuted in the majors 10 years ago with the Brewers, would be on five days’ rest after allowing three runs on one hit and three walks in 4 2/3 innings Thursday. Irvin, a 26-year-old right-hander drafted by the Nationals in 2018, would be on a full week’s rest after allowing two runs on five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings Wednesday.

More context to consider: Irvin is already on the 40-man roster, but Peralta is not, so his promotion would require an additional transaction beyond the player who would need to come off the major league roster.

The team’s only other alternative would be to go with a bullpen game, hoping some combination of Mason Thompson, Erasmo Ramirez, Thaddeus Ward, Hobie Harris and others could provide enough quality innings to get the game to the top back-end relievers. That scenario, however, would almost certainly require a long start out of Trevor Williams tonight, leaving the bullpen fresh for Wednesday’s game.

“I’m hoping Trevor gives us a good, solid six innings, and then we’ll go from there,” Martinez said. “But a lot needs to happen today. We’ll get through today, and then I’ll let you know tonight.”

* Corey Dickerson ran on the field today for the first time since suffering a calf strain one month ago.

The veteran outfielder, who started only one game before landing on the 10-day IL, said he felt “great” after crossing that key rehab achievement off the list. But he also understands he can’t rush back and will continue to follow the program created for him by director of medical services Harvey Sharman.

“That’s the thing Harvey said you’re going to fight with. You’re going to feel great. You’re going to feel springy, ready to go,” Dickerson said. “That urge - ‘I’m ready’ - it’s in all of us. But if I didn’t trust him - and he cares so much, and you can tell it comes from the heart – I would probably be that way. But he’s awesome at what he does.”

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