PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – It’s not always a newsy day at spring training. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes it leaves a lot to be desired.
Today was one of those days when the Nationals got in some early work and prepared for their game 45 minutes up the road in Port St. Lucie against the Mets. Starting pitcher Trevor Williams, facing his former team for the first time, is scheduled to go two innings and 35-40 pitches. Regulars in the starting lineup (facing Max Scherzer to start) include CJ Abrams, Luis García, Joey Meneses, Jeimer Candelario and Victor Robles. Victor Arano, Kyle Finnegan, Carl Edwards Jr., Joan Adon and Jake Irvin made the trip to come out of the bullpen.
Here are some quick notes from manager Davey Martinez when he met with the media this morning:
* There is still no news on Derek Hill’s hamstring. He was scheduled to have an MRI yesterday, but it didn’t happen until last night, so the team is waiting to hear back from a doctor this afternoon. Hill suffered a hamstring injury on Wednesday against the Yankees in Tampa by racing down the first base line while trying to beat out a chopper to third.
“We're waiting for a doctor to read the MRI on Derek Hill,” Martinez said. “We'll know something this afternoon. He had an MRI last night, it was the only time to get him in. He seems to be doing OK. He was riding a bike today. So hopefully, we get a read on this thing. We'll definitely know more, but hopefully it's not that big of a deal. I'd like to get him back as soon as possible. I want to see him play.”
Hill is competing for the fourth outfielder’s job with Alex Call and Stone Garrett, both of whom are in today’s starting lineup.
“The first thing is make sure that he's completely healthy before we get him back in there,” Martinez said. “Look, he's here because we know what he can do. It's nice to see him play, but I told him, I said, 'Hey, look, we've done our homework. We know what you can do. Let's make sure we get you right and you're ready to play and ready to go fully when you come back. So take it easy.'”
* Jackson Tetreault was seen doing a throwing motion off a bullpen mound this morning without actually throwing a ball. The right-hander is recovering from a stress fracture in his right scapula, and Martinez said he’s nearly ready to resume throwing off a mound.
“He's progressing. He's actually getting ready to throw off the mound here, I think, in about another week or so,” the skipper said. “He's doing well, and all he's doing is he's just practicing his mechanics a little bit. Sometimes they do towel drills, sometimes they just kind of get on the mound and feel that little slope and get back used to throwing off the slope.”
* Jackson Rutledge, the current No. 11 prospect in the Nats system per MLB Pipeline, pitched two innings in a simulated game on one of the back fields of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches this morning.
He faced major leaguers Lane Thomas, Keibert Ruiz, Dominic Smith, Corey Dickerson and Matt Adams, with Martinez, pitching coach Jim Hickey and other members of the major league coaching staff watching.
The big right-hander clearly has stuff that plays. He struck out Dickerson on three pitches, and got the veteran to swing at each offering.
But the big boys were able to eventually make solid contact off the prospect, who has yet to pitch above low Single-A.
After his two innings of work, Rutledge was upset he left some of fastballs too high in the zone after getting ahead in the count, instead wishing he got them lower against his teammates.
Nonetheless, it was a good learning experience for the former first-round pick.
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