Cavalli to start Thursday vs. A's, Gray to return at Mets


Cade Cavalli will make his next start for the Nationals on Thursday afternoon, giving the organization’s top pitching prospect two home outings to begin his career before he makes his road debut.

Cavalli is slated to start the finale of a three-game series against the Athletics, with Erick Fedde and Aníbal Sánchez pitching Tuesday and Wednesday nights, respectively.

The 24-year-old right-hander made his major league debut Friday against the Reds, struggling with grip issues on a hot and muggy D.C. evening en route to seven runs allowed over 4 1/3 innings and 99 pitches. He’ll now get a chance to face another rebuilding club in the A’s, who currently own the second-worst record in baseball (ahead of only the Nationals).

Cavalli will be pitching on five days’ rest, just as he did most of the time this season at Triple-A Rochester. The Nationals are going to attempt to continue giving him an extra day of rest as much as possible over the season’s final month, taking advantage of scheduled off-days of their schedule for both Cavalli and Josiah Gray.

“Between him and JoJo, we’re definitely going to try to keep those guys limited a little bit in the next month,” manager Davey Martinez said. “But we definitely want to see him pitch up here. So he’ll pitch Thursday, and then we’ll have some days off coming up. We’ll see how we’re going to work those two guys. We might give them a couple extra days in between.”

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Cavalli to make MLB debut Friday night in D.C.

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SEATTLE – Cade Cavalli – and Nationals fans – don’t have to wait any longer. The organization’s top pitching prospect will make his major league debut Friday night.

Manager Davey Martinez made it official today, confirming the 24-year-old right-hander will start Friday’s series opener against the Reds, with a plan to have him continue to pitch every five or six days the rest of the season.

“We’re excited,” Martinez said. “He’s checked a lot of the boxes. With that being said, with all of our young guys, part of the process is patience. We’re going to get him up here and get him going, and see how he does. But he’s done well in Rochester, really well, as the numbers will indicate.”

Cavalli’s season-long numbers at Triple-A (3.71 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 104 strikeouts in 97 innings) are solid but not spectacular. But over his last 13 starts, he’s been electric (2.10 ERA, 1.019 WHIP, 77 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings), capped off by a 109-pitch outing Saturday against Worcester in which he had seven strikeouts through his first three innings.

In promoting him now, the Nationals have set it up for Cavalli to make his first two starts at home against non-contenders (Friday vs. the Reds, Sept. 1 vs. the Athletics) before the team faces mostly NL East contenders during the season’s final month.

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What will Nats' rotation look like in September?


Way back in early June, when the Nationals were languishing with the worst rotation in baseball, we wondered if the day might be coming soon when they would have a whole new set of starters pitching for them, guys who not only would be more effective than the current group but also would be younger and part of the organization’s long-term plan.

Here we are entering the final week of August, and unfortunately that hasn’t been the case at all. The Nats’ last five games have been started by Cory Abbott, Anibal Sanchez, Paolo Espino, Josiah Gray and Patrick Corbin.

Yes, they’ve been far more effective than they were nearly three months ago. But outside of Gray, nobody else from this quintet realistically is going to be part of the long-term plan around here. Even Erick Fedde, set to return from a shoulder injury Tuesday in Seattle, remains a shorter-term solution, something of a bridge starter until younger, more promising prospects arrive.

But when will they actually arrive? Will we actually see anybody new and intriguing before season’s end?

By all accounts, yes. It’s going to require a little more patience, though.

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García day-to-day with groin strain, Cruz returns from dizzy spell

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Though he’s not in tonight’s lineup, Luis García said he’s fine after suffering a minor groin strain during Friday night’s game against the Padres.

The young Nationals shortstop had an MRI this morning to determine the extent of the injury, which he suffered while running out a groundball in the sixth inning of a 10-5 loss. Manager Davey Martinez referred to the ailment as “a little bit of a strain in his left groin,” and said García will be day-to-day until it heals.

“I want him to get treatment today,” Martinez said. “Hopefully later on he’s available to pinch-hit. We’ll see how it goes.”

The groin injury came only two days after Garcia had to leave a game in Chicago with a sore knee, creating at least some concern about the state of the 22-year-old’s legs, and raising the question of whether the organization might be on the verge of promoting recently acquired shortstop C.J. Abrams.

Had García gone on the injured list, it’s possible the Nationals would’ve replaced him on the roster with Abrams, one of the key prospects they got last week from San Diego for Juan Soto and Josh Bell. The 21-year-old shortstop entered the day batting .296 (8-for-27) with two doubles, two RBIs, four stolen bases and a .725 OPS in seven games for Triple-A Rochester.

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Voit, Gore to join Nats in Philly, Abrams reporting to Rochester

luke voit

Three of the six players the Nationals acquired from the Padres this week, all of them age 18-20, won’t be sniffing the major leagues for some time. The other three, though, are poised to join the club before season’s end, one of them as soon as tonight.

Luke Voit, the lone veteran to be included in the blockbuster deal that sent Juan Soto and Josh Bell to San Diego, is scheduled to meet the team in Philadelphia and will probably be in the lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Phillies.

The 31-year-old will see time both at first base and designated hitter the rest of the way, according to manager Davey Martinez. Though he had pedestrian numbers this season with the Padres (a .225/.317/.416 slash line with 13 homers and 48 RBIs in 344 plate appearances), Voit’s .733 OPS is as good as anyone currently in the Nats lineup.

Over parts of six big league seasons with the Cardinals, Yankees and Padres, Voit owns a strong .838 OPS and 86 homers. He led the American League with 22 homers and finished ninth in MVP voting during the condensed 2020 season.

And because he’s under club control through 2024 (same as Soto), Voit could figure into the Nationals’ plans beyond this year.

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