Thompson to IL, Harvey called up, Sanchez doubtful Monday

The Nationals made one roster move prior to today’s series finale against the Mets, and it looks like they’ll be making another prior to Monday’s series opener against the Braves.

Mason Thompson was placed on the 10-day injured list this morning with what for now is being called a right biceps strain until MRI results come in. He’s replaced in the bullpen by Hunter Harvey, who was called up from Triple-A Rochester and is available to pitch today after an all-night drive from Toledo, Ohio.

Meanwhile, Aníbal Sánchez is “doubtful” to make his scheduled start Monday in Atlanta, according to manager Davey Martinez, who said the club likely will call someone up to take that spot. Left-hander Josh Rogers, who was optioned to Rochester on the final day of spring training but has yet to pitch, appears to be the likeliest candidate.

Neither represents the kind of development the Nationals wanted only three games into a season that has begun with three straight losses to New York.

Thompson threw only three pitches in the top of the eighth before departing with director of athletic training Paul Lessard. The initial diagnosis on the right-hander was a right biceps strain, but the team is somewhat concerned this morning’s MRI could reveal a more serious injury.

“There’s always concern when it’s a pitcher, obviously,” Martinez said. “We’ll see what the actual prognosis is, once we get the MRI back. Hopefully it’s just biceps tendinitis. My concern is that he’s had arm issues in the past; he’s a Tommy John guy. Yeah, I’m a little worried.”

Needing a fresh arm for their bullpen after using five relievers in each of their first three games, the Nationals summoned Harvey, who closed out Rochester’s 9-0 victory Saturday night in Toledo and was about to fall asleep when his phone rang at 11 p.m. The right-hander and his wife, Summer, got in their car and drove through the night to Washington, arriving this morning. He said he slept for an hour before reporting to the ballpark for work.

“I kind of felt worse after I slept,” he said with a laugh. “I kind of wish I just stayed up.”

Harvey only joined the Nationals organization March 21 when he was claimed off waivers from the Giants. He was sent to Triple-A to begin the season to give him more time to build his arm up, but after only two appearances for the Red Wings he’s back in the big leagues for the first time since June 2021 with the Orioles.

“I really didn’t pitch a whole lot last year with injuries,” he said. “So I knew I was being sent down just to get some work in and get the feel of pitching. And that’s what I went down there and did. I wasn’t too worried about: ‘I gotta make it back to the big leagues.’ It was more: ‘I’m in Triple-A. Let’s pitch, and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.”

The Nationals figure to be adding another pitcher once they arrive in Atlanta on Monday, because Sánchez’s stiff neck still hasn’t healed enough to convince the club he’s good to make his season debut as originally planned. The 38-year-old, who made the team this spring off a minor league contract after sitting out the 2021 season, first reported the issue after flying back from West Palm Beach on the team  charter following Tuesday’s spring training finale.

“His neck’s still an issue,” Martinez said. “He actually went and they put him on medicine. I think he’s going to be doubtful for his start. We’re going to work on who’s going to pitch for us tomorrow, but I want to make sure he’s completely healthy before we get him back out there.”

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