Thompson lands on IL with left knee contusion

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CINCINNATI – The Nationals added another reliever to the injured list today, placing Mason Thompson on the 15-day IL with a left knee contusion that appears to have prevented the right-hander from pitching most of the week.

Thompson hadn’t appeared in a game since Monday, when he tossed a scoreless eighth on all of five pitches, helping lead the Nats to a 5-3 win over the Brewers. Despite the team being in several close games since then, manager Davey Martinez did not call upon his top setup man.

Martinez revealed Thompson recently hurt himself after falling, though he did not offer any more specifics than that.

“I don’t know how he fell, but he said he fell and he’s been dealing with it for a few days,” Martinez told reporters before today's game against the Reds. “Hopefully it will go away. He had an MRI that showed he had a contusion. So we’re going to make sure we take care of him and get him ready to go again.”

Though it has been five days since Thompson last pitched, IL moves can only be backdated three days. So he officially goes on the IL on Aug. 2 and will eligible to return Aug. 17.

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Mullins exits game with right quadriceps tightness, Orioles win 6-5

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Only two of the six clubhouse televisions this afternoon were tuned into the first game of the Rays’ doubleheader against the Royals. The Cubs-Red Sox also aired on two of them. Or players could choose between the Scottish Open and a scouting combine men’s basketball tournament.

No one seemed interested.

One player sat in a recliner for a few minutes during the media’s access, got up and left. The place emptied for a meeting. Further evidence that the first-place Rays aren’t an obsession.

The Orioles may check the standings, but they know how little it matters if they don’t win.

They might have lost their center fielder again.

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Nats place Corbin on bereavement list, recall Ferrer (plus injury updates)

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PHILADELPHIA – The Nationals have gone most of this season without a left-handed reliever in their bullpen.

Now they have two.

The Nationals recalled left-hander Jose A. Ferrer from Triple-A Rochester and placed Patrick Corbin on the bereavement list before tonight’s series opener against the Phillies.

“Patrick Corbin is on the bereavement list right now,” manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame meeting with the media. “So we thought we'd bring in Ferrer, one of our young left-handed relievers. Give him an opportunity, hopefully in the next couple of days. With all the lefties they got, get him in the game. So yeah, he'll be here and we'll see how it goes for him.”

Ferrer joins the Nats after his first taste of Triple-A ball, where he was 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA, 1.550 WHIP and 33 strikeouts in 40 innings over 34 appearances. The 23-year-old did not allow a run in his final five outings since June 17 while holding opponents to a .158 average (3-for-19) and striking out nine in six innings over that span.

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More on Robles' injury and defensive positioning

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There have been some very bizarre circumstances and confusing statements surrounding Victor Robles’ back injury.

It all started on May 7 when the 26-year-old first hurt his back while sliding into second base during a game against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. He was placed on the 10-day injured list the following day with what the team then called “back spasms.”

After a while, the injury was suspected to be more serious. It took Robles three weeks to start running and doing agility work. Then a few days later, he started taking full rounds of batting practice.

That was finally a sign he was improving and ready to start working his way back to the team. He started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on June 9 and reached base in all four games with the Red Wings, going 4-for-7 (.571) with a double, two home runs, five RBIs, a walk and five runs scored in his final two outings.

The time came Friday for Robles to be reinstated from the IL, with Alex Call being optioned down to Rochester. After his first three games back over the weekend, the oddities surrounding Robles were on display Monday and Tuesday.

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Robles and Edwards land on IL, Hill and La Sorsa join Nats

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An odd Tuesday night has turned into a busy Wednesday afternoon here at Nationals Park.

After some misplays in the field, a confrontation with MacKenzie Gore in the dugout and questions about his health, Victor Robles was placed back on the 10-day injured list today with back spasms in the lumbar spine, with the Nationals selecting the contract of Derek Hill from Triple-A Rochester to take his spot on the active roster

It was a rough couple of days in the field since Robles was reinstated from the IL on Friday after he seemingly recovered the same back spasms that had him inactive since May 8. On Monday, he got a late break on a ball over his head that turned into an RBI triple after he crashed into the wall trying to get back to make the catch. Then last night, he let a ball land in front of him while slowly moving to his left, leading to the animated discussion with Gore. Later in the game, he only made it to first base on a line drive off the left field wall and then struggled to go first-to-third on CJ Abrams’ double to right-center.

Davey Martinez mentioned after the game that he was going to have a discussion with Robles to see how he felt.

“We made a move today. We put Victor on the IL,” Martinez said before this afternoon’s finale against the Cardinals. “As I said last night, I was gonna have a conversation with him. I talked to him last night. I had to really stress that he needed to be honest with me. And he said he was a bit sore and that it bothered him running. It doesn't bother him hitting, it bothers him running.

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Doolittle throwing back-to-back days, plus other updates

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Sean Doolittle is making a significant step in his recovery from an elbow procedure done last year.

Rehabbing at the Nationals' facility in West Palm Beach, Doolittle will start throwing on back-to-back days, the next benchmark he’s been working toward for a while.

“Sean Doolittle is gonna go back-to-back days now,” manager Davey Martinez said during his pregame media session. “Once he does that, then we'll reassess and go from there.”

The veteran left-hander was limited to just 5 ⅓ innings in six games with the Nationals last year before being shut down with an elbow injury. After trying to just rest it, Doolittle decided to undergo a similar but less invasive procedure as Tommy John surgery with the hope that he would recover faster and be able to pitch this season.

He reported to spring training healthy on a minor league deal, but was ultimately shut down out of precaution of ramping up too fast. If Doolittle feels good after throwing back-to-back games, the Nationals could start looking to get him into game action.

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Candelario returns to lineup, Dickerson on rehab assignment

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The Nationals have returned home from a six-game West Coast road trip and received good news on the injury front after yesterday’s off-day.

Jeimer Candelario, dealing with a right ankle issue, is back in the starting lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Mets, batting sixth and playing third base. He had left Wednesday’s win against the Giants after sliding awkwardly into second base and having his right foot get caught in the dirt, twisting his ankle. After the game, he was seen with the ankle wrapped up, and manager Davey Martinez said the Nats would have to wait until today to see how he felt.

Today’s report, obviously, came back positive.

“He just slid and fell funny on it,” Martinez said during his pregame media session at Nationals Park. “It was kind of sore, but he said he feels good today. ... Everything's good.”

The Nats do have plenty of backup options just in case Candelario needed an extra day of rest. Ildemaro Vargas, Michael Chavis and Jake Alu all have experience playing third base.

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Updates on Dickerson, Doolittle, Kieboom and more

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The start of a new series brings the latest injury updates from Nationals manager Davey Martinez.

It’s a new habit he’s starting this season. It’s helpful for him so he doesn’t get caught off-guard when we ask about a hurt player. It’s helpful for us so we don’t forget about a player to ask about.

Corey Dickerson, Sean Doolittle and Carter Kieboom are the headliners, with each making some steps forward in their respective rehabs.

Dickerson, now eligible to come off the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain, is able to do basic baseball activities including hitting and throwing. It’s just running that still is an issue.

“The soreness is diminishing. He's hitting, he's throwing,” Martinez said of Dickerson. “The next step is to get him on the field and start doing some agility stuff and then get him to run. Once he builds to that, the agility stuff is going to be the key. Once he can do that and do it well with no pain, he can start running. So hopefully we get him back.”

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The injuries were tough to take but overall the WBC has been great

Cedric Mullins WBC

New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz injured his right knee and may be out for the year. Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has a fractured right thumb and will need surgery. The first injury happened during a World Baseball Classic postgame celebration and the second during a WBC game.

Those are two key players that will miss significant portions of the coming season – maybe most or all of it – and both were injured as a result of taking part in the WBC.

No doubt fans of those teams may not be that excited about the WBC moving forward. In the game where Altuve got hit by a pitch on Saturday night, the Orioles' Anthony Santander followed him in the batting order and it could have been him that was hit and injured but luckily for the Orioles, he was not.

Despite these injuries, the WBC has been great to watch this year.

It’s great to see the talent around the world in the sport of baseball and more importantly the passion for the sport around the world. The crowds and the cheering and the TV ratings outside of the United States show us how much fans and players alike care about this event. It is a huge deal, maybe more so than it is here.

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Cavalli: "I'm going to be back, and I'm going to better, I promise"

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Cade Cavalli sat down in Davey Martinez’s office Wednesday evening, with Mike Rizzo also in attendance, and braced for the news from his manager and general manager. What they told him about the MRI taken of his elbow earlier that morning – a full tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, requiring Tommy John surgery – stung like few pieces of news the right-hander has ever received, and it took the Nationals’ 24-year-old pitching prospect a little while to come to grips with it before he was ready to pivot to the challenge now facing him.

“I gave myself a little bit of time to cry and to hurt,” Cavalli said. “But during that meeting with them, it was just like: It is what it is, and it’s time. It was a little flip switch, and I’m ready. I am. I’m ready to rock. I’m going to be back, and I’m going to be better, I promise.”

Speaking with reporters this afternoon, roughly 48 hours since he injured himself throwing a pitch against the Mets and 24 hours since he got the official diagnosis, Cavalli detailed the emotions he’s experienced since and the determination he now has to return healthy in 2024.

Cavalli will fly to Dallas on Monday and undergo ligament replacement surgery Wednesday, performed by renowned orthopedist Keith Meister. He faces a rehab process of at least 12 months, with the possibility he’ll be ready to open the 2024 season on time but the understanding it may take longer than that.

“It’s frustrating for him,” Rizzo said. “He’s a competitor. And he was on the verge of his first major league Opening Day and being a big part of what we’re doing here, and now he’s got to take a step back and rehab, and the isolation and the loneliness that that entails. The strong survive it and come out the other end better for it. I believe he’s one of that group, and I’m looking forward to watching him progress through his rehab and watching him come out the other side of it and really get after it again.”

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Cavalli needs season-ending Tommy John surgery

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Cade Cavalli will require season-ending Tommy John surgery, a crushing blow to the Nationals and their top pitching prospect two weeks before Opening Day.

An MRI of Cavalli’s right elbow revealed a Grade 3 sprain, which is a complete tear, of the ulnar collateral ligament. Had it been a lesser-grade sprain, it’s possible Cavalli could have avoided surgery and attempted to return sooner via rest and rehab. The complete tear requires surgery to replace the ligament.

“While Cade will not pitch in 2023, he continues to be a very important part of our franchise’s future,” general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement released by the team, “and we look forward to having him back on the mound.”

The Nationals’ first-round pick in the 2020 draft, Cavalli was making his fourth appearance of the spring Tuesday afternoon and looked dominant through his first 2 2/3 innings, allowing only one of the nine Mets batters he faced to reach base. But then he threw an 87 mph changeup to Brandon Nimmo that sailed high and away of the New York leadoff man, began shaking his right arm and paced around the mound, hunching over in pain.

Manager Davey Martinez, head athletic trainer Paul Lessard and catcher Keibert Ruiz converged around Cavalli, and though the pitcher wanted to try to throw a warmup toss, he was told he needed to depart the game alongside Lessard.

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Important candidates wishing to bounce back from injury

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It's Christmas morning, and all who celebrate are rushing to see if their holiday wishes were placed under the tree.

For the Nationals, that could have been any number of things coming off a 107-loss year.

But like every major league team over the course of a 162-game season, the Nationals dealt with their fair share of injuries this year.

In fact, they placed 24 different players on the injured list for 25 different stints, with Stephen Strasburg landing on the 10-day IL at the start of the season while recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome, and then on the 60-day IL with a stress reaction in his ribs after his lone start in June.

Those 24 players combined to miss 1,778 games for the Nationals in 2022. So like many, the Nats may be wishing for better health in 2023.

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Doolittle to have season-ending elbow surgery

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Sean Doolittle will have season-ending surgery to repair the partial tear of his elbow ligament that he hoped to return from this year, believing the operation will allow him to return healthy in time for spring training.

The surgery, an internal brace procedure in which a collagen-soaked wrap is placed around the ulnar collateral ligament, is less invasive than Tommy John surgery, with recovery expected to be five to seven months instead of 12 to 18 months. By having it done now, Doolittle sees a path to be ready for the start of the 2023 season.

“I feel really good about it,” the left-hander said. “I don’t feel good about getting surgery. I feel really good that this is the right course of action for me right now at this point in my career, at this point in this process with my elbow. As far as I’m looking at it, 2023 starts right now. I’m viewing this as a long, extended ramp-up into the season next year.”

Doolittle initially landed on the injured list in April after five consecutive scoreless appearances with what was deemed a partial tear of the UCL. With consultation from doctors, he attempted to avoid surgery with a rehab program that included a platelet-rich plasma injection. He began building up his arm strength again, and last week threw off a bullpen mound for the first time and was pleased with how he felt physically during it.

But as he continued to ramp up, he began experiencing the same elbow soreness he had in April, and that was a red flag to him. A new MRI was taken and sent to doctors, who found no more serious tear but not enough healing of the original tear to believe it was wise to continue pitching.

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Hyde on injury updates, Mancini back in lineup, trust in López, and more

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MINNEAPOLIS – Infielder Ramón Urías is expected to begin his injury rehab assignment tonight with Double-A Bowie.

Urías hasn’t played since June 9 due to a strained left oblique. Jonathan Araúz and Tyler Nevin are handling third base, and Richie Martin is available to share second base duties with Rougned Odor.

Starter Kyle Bradish threw on flat ground yesterday without any discomfort in his right shoulder, and he’ll have a bullpen session Sunday morning.

“Encouraged by both of those things,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Good to see Kyle start to get ramped up a little bit, going through his throwing progression, and Ramón in some game action.”

“Hopefully there aren’t any setbacks and he stays healthy during his rehab assignment.”

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Strasburg moves step closer after dominant rehab start

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Stephen Strasburg was already in the home clubhouse at Nationals Park by the time Sunday’s 6-5 victory over the Rockies was completed, the traffic on northbound Interstate-95 apparently not nearly as awful as you’d typically expect it to be on a holiday weekend.

While the Nats were hanging on to beat Colorado and earn their first home series win of the season, Strasburg was making his second rehab start for Single-A Fredericksburg. And unlike his uneven first outing Tuesday night, this time he dominated his far-less-experienced opponents.

Strasburg tossed five no-hit innings. He retired the first 14 batters before finally surrendering a walk with two outs in the fifth. He struck out six. He did all this in only 58 pitches (38 strikes). Suffice it to say, it was about as best-case scenario as you could draw up under the circumstances.

And most importantly, it moves the 33-year-old one step closer to rejoining the Nationals and finally making his 2022 debut.

Manager Davey Martinez has said he’d like Strasburg to be able to complete six innings and/or throw 90 pitches before coming off the injured list. After going five innings Sunday, he should be cleared to go six in his next outing. The pitch count progression might lag a bit behind; it’s tough to imagine the organization would let him throw more than 75 or so pitches next time out. But as efficient as he was in this one, it’s entirely possible he could complete six frames around that total.

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Strasburg, Ross to start for minor league clubs Tuesday

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MILWAUKEE – Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross are ready at last to pitch in games. Minor league games, to be sure, but that’s nonetheless a significant development for both Nationals right-handers as they move closer to making their 2022 major league debuts.

Strasburg and Ross will begin minor league rehab assignments Tuesday night, manager Davey Martinez revealed before today’s series finale against the Brewers. Strasburg will start for Single-A Fredericksburg, with Ross starting for Double-A Harrisburg.

Each hurler is scheduled to throw four innings and roughly 60 pitches in their first true game appearances following lengthy rehab stints at the Nationals’ spring training complex in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“Now they’re actually competing in a regular scenario,” Martinez said. “You can’t take them out after 15-16 pitches an inning. They have to go out there and compete, and they have to get outs. They’re going out there to help our affiliate teams win. I want them to understand that they’ve got to go out and compete and help those teams win.”

Strasburg has been out since thoracic outlet surgery last summer. Ross has been out since suffering a sprained elbow ligament last summer and then having a bone spur removed from that elbow this spring. Each has been on the 60-day injured list and rehabbing in Florida, slowly building up from bullpen sessions to live batting practice to simulated games, the most recent of which took place Thursday.

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Harvey hopes speaking up gets him back on mound soon

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When Hunter Harvey first felt what he described as a cramp in his right forearm during Wednesday night’s relief appearance, he knew he now faced a serious dilemma. Should he let the Nationals know he might be hurt, or should he try to pitch through it, knowing he was quickly establishing himself as one of the more trusted members of Davey Martinez’s bullpen only two weeks after joining the club?

Throughout his career with the Orioles, Harvey tended to keep these things to himself. That got him nowhere, aside from the injured list, usually for months at a time.

This time, he decided to speak up immediately. And though he’s now on the 10-day IL with a right pronator strain, he believes the stint will be brief because it’s being addressed now and not later.

“I’ve had too many times where I’ve felt stuff like this that I told them: ‘I think I can pitch with it; I don’t think it would be a problem,’ ” Harvey said. “But I’ve pitched with stuff like this before, and I’ll start doing something different trying to protect it and then I’ll end up blowing something out.”

Martinez certainly appreciated Harvey’s willingness to be forthcoming with his injury, an approach plenty of players in his position wouldn’t take.

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Bullpen will try to overcome losses of Doolittle, Harvey

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Davey Martinez knew this might happen. He’d been through a condensed, three-week spring training in 1995 following the end of the players’ strike, and he remembered the physical damage that caused, on pitchers in particular, once the season began later than originally planned.

So the last thing Martinez is right now is surprised. He had a hunch some pitchers wouldn’t be ready for the regular season grind after the short camp. And wouldn’t you know what happened?

First it was right-hander Mason Thompson, who landed on the 10-day injured list April 10 with biceps tendinitis. Then came the back-to-back blows this week: Sean Doolittle, who sprained his left elbow ligament, followed by Hunter Harvey, who has a pronator strain in his right forearm.

“When I went through this as a player in ’95, (for) a lot of these pitchers, April was pretty strenuous,” Martinez said. “I don’t know if it’s anything related to the short spring training, but you’ve got to look at (that), trying to ramp these guys up. That being said, this is the reason we tried to have so many different options, in case something like this would happen.”

Thompson pitched twice in the season’s first three days before he was placed on the IL. Doolittle pitched in six of the Nats’ first 12 games before telling club officials about the elbow pain that was growing worse. And Harvey, who pitched four times in 10 days after he was called up from Triple-A Rochester, reported physical issues following Wednesday night’s game. By Thursday afternoon, he joined the others on the IL.

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Harvey is latest from bullpen to land on IL

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The Nationals were relieved to learn Josh Bell could return to today’s lineup after departing Wednesday night’s game with tightness in his left knee. They were not so relieved to learn another member of their bullpen is out with an arm ailment.

The Nats placed Hunter Harvey on the 10-day injured list shortly before today’s series finale against the Diamondbacks with a right pronator strain, a situation that appears to have just emerged within the last 24 hours after the hard-throwing reliever tossed a scoreless inning.

Harvey, the former Orioles first-round pick whose career has been beset by a smorgasbord of injuries, made four scoreless appearances since joining the Nationals bullpen during the season’s opening weekend. The 27-year-old was starting to earn his way into manager Davey Martinez’s good graces and perhaps start getting called upon in high-leverage situations, but something apparently didn’t feel right during Wednesday night’s game.

Harvey entered that outing averaging 97 mph on his fastball in his first three appearances. That number went down to 96 mph during Wednesday’s game, bottoming out at 94.3 mph on one of the 12 pitches he threw to three Arizona batters.

The pronator is part of the flexor mass group of muscles and tendons in the forearm, near the elbow. A pronator strain would be to one of the muscles in that area, not an uncommon injury for pitchers.

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Ross placed on IL with partial tear of elbow ligament

Ross placed on IL with partial tear of elbow ligament
A summer of misery for the Nationals took another turn for the worse in the last 24 hours when Joe Ross reported forearm tightness following a bullpen throwing session and a subsequent MRI revealed a partial tear of his elbow ligament. The club hasn't finalized a plan yet for Ross, but he will be examined by Keith Meister, the Dallas-area orthopedist who performed Tommy John surgery on him four years ago, and a second major elbow procedure is possible. If that does prove to be the course of...
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