Ruiz gets one more day of rest, Young gets first start

MIAMI – For the fourth straight game and fifth in the Nationals’ last six, Riley Adams will start behind the plate in Sunday’s finale against the Marlins.

As they go for a sweep of their division rival, the Nats continue to monitor Keibert Ruiz’s health after he took a foul tip off his face mask Wednesday in New York. Adams replaced him to catch the eighth inning, so this is actually his sixth straight game getting behind the dish in some capacity.

Ruiz was scratched from Thursday’s lineup because he felt lightheaded. He felt fine enough to be the designated hitter Friday night in Miami, but hasn’t been in the lineup since. Manager Davey Martinez said yesterday Ruiz spent most of Saturday morning at the dentist and was given some more time to recover.

“After talking to the medical staff last night, we just wanted to give him another day today and make sure that he's totally good so he could come back and get ready to go,” Martinez said during his pregame media session Sunday. “Riley Adams has been playing well. We just want to give him another day and make sure he's well and rested and ready to go tomorrow.”

The Nationals expect Ruiz, who has been in the clubhouse all weekend in his normal upbeat mood, to play in Monday’s opener in Toronto. The catcher is taking some new medication, which should take full effect in his system by tomorrow’s game against the Blue Jays.

“I expect to play tomorrow. He should be OK,” Martinez said. “He said he feels better. But like I said, it was more just keeping him off his feet with another day. He's taking some medication. So let it get in there, let it get settled and he'll be ready to go tomorrow.”

For what it’s worth, the Nationals have won all five of Adams’ starts this week and are 12-1 in his last 13 starts. Over that stretch, he is hitting .300 with a .864 OPS, seven doubles, nine RBIs and five walks.

“He's been good,” Martinez said of Adams. “Being a backup catcher, you always got to be ready, and he keeps himself ready. Like I said, he's done really well. He's handled our pitching staff well. He's caught well. He's got some big hits for us as well. So I'm proud of the way he's playing. He gets an opportunity to play a few days in a row.”

Drew Millas is also here with the Nats on the taxi squad. He arrived yesterday just in case the Nats needed to make a roster move with Ruiz. The Nats’ No. 23 prospect per MLB Pipeline is not on the 40-man roster, so a move would have to be made if he is needed.

If no roster move is made before first pitch and for whatever reason neither Adams nor Ruiz is available to catch, Martinez has named Ildemaro Vargas as his emergency catcher.

Meanwhile, Jacob Young is making his first major league start today after making his big league debut as a pinch-runner yesterday and scoring the tying run in the ninth inning. The 24-year-old is batting ninth for his first at-bat and playing center field.

“Just go out there and nothing changes for him,” Martinez said of his message to Young. “We know he's gonna play good defense. For me, I just explained to him, 'hey, just put the ball in play, hit the ball, stay in the middle of the field. But just go out there, you be you and have some fun.'”

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