Williams, Gallo still ways away; Cavalli, Ferrer going to Florida during break

NEW YORK – While still slowly progressing in their respective rehabs, Trevor Williams and Joey Gallo are both still a ways away from returning off the injured list for the Nationals.

Williams landed on the 15-day IL on June 4 (retroactive to June 1) with a right flexor muscle strain, a similar injury to what has kept Josiah Gray sidelined for the last three months. Although the right-hander finally began throwing recently, he’s still not near the point of throwing from a mound, nevertheless facing live hitters and starting a rehab assignment.

“No, the same,” said manager Davey Martinez when asked if there is an update on Williams ahead of this series opener against the Mets. “He's still progressing. It's going to be a process. But he's throwing up to like 60 feet and he's getting better.”

Williams was the Nats’ best starter over the first two months of the season: In 11 starts, he went 5-0 with a 2.22 ERA and 1.076 WHIP, while the Nats went 9-2 in those games. After struggling last year, the 32-year-old had made himself the team’s top trade chip ahead of this month’s deadline.

But now it’s unlikely Williams will be able to return to major league mound ahead of the July 30 trade deadline.

Given the Nats’ current pace with Williams, it doesn’t seem like they would be willing to speed up his recovery process to get him back to the majors – even to pitch for just a couple of innings – before the deadline. They could maybe get him to make a couple of rehab starts and hope a team takes a chance on him if he’s healthy enough at that point, but that also feels very unlikely.

On the other hand, Gallo was supposed to be a possible trade chip coming into the season, but his performance and time on the 10-day IL with a left hamstring strain have probably squashed that possibility. The first baseman/designated hitter is with the Nats in New York, but he hasn’t been able to run at full speed yet, keeping his baseball activity to a minimum. Gallo has fielded some grounds at first base within the last week and hit during the final round of batting practice today.

“Joey Gallo is with us. He's progressing,” Martinez said. “He's doing some baseball activity, very light, but he's out there doing some work. He still can't fully run yet. But he's getting better.”

Gallo was hitting .146 with a .606 OPS with five home runs and 11 RBIs in 46 games before landing on the IL on June 12. The hope at the time was that he wouldn’t need too much time down, could return and get on a little bit of a hot streak at the plate to generate trade interest. But as we get closer and closer to the deadline and do not really see any significant uptick in his rehab, that also seems unlikely to happen.

* Cade Cavalli and Jose A. Ferrer will head to the team’s facility in West Palm Beach to continue their respective rehabs during the upcoming All-Star break.

Cavalli remains in D.C. to continue some rehab before heading to Florida next week. The right-hander was close to returning from last year’s Tommy John surgery before he was shut down with a case of the flu.

Because the former first-round pick missed so much time while sick, the Nats are being extra cautious with him while essentially restarting his rehab assignment.

“Cavalli is staying in D.C. He's still going to continue to rehab,” Martinez said. “And then hopefully next week, he'll be going to Florida to start again.”

Cavalli had a really encouraging rehab start with High-A Wilmington three weeks ago, pitching three shutout innings. But the sickness has kept him sidelined for so long, he needs to build up his arm again.

“Yeah, he's missed quite some time. So we're gonna start fresh,” Martinez said. “We just want him to continue to progress. We don't want him to get worse. And so we gotta build him up again. Like I said he was sick, but we wanted to keep him down until he felt better.”

Ferrer will pitch one inning again tonight with Double-A Harrisburg before spending the break in Florida. Coming back from a lat strain, the lefty has allowed just one run on three hits and one walk with six strikeouts in 4 ⅓ innings over four rehab starts with the Rookie-level Florida Complex League Nationals and the Senators.

“Ferrer is going to go (to Florida) because of the All-Star break,” Martinez said. “He's gotta go because the teams (don't play), but he's gonna go pitch in Harrisburg (tonight).”

Whenever he is ready to return, Ferrer will provide some much-needed support out of the bullpen, with Martinez already considering he could give them multiple innings.

“Right now, we'll see where he's at and how he progresses,” the skipper said. “Right now, I'm just kind of trying to get him through one inning and then build him up from there. But when he's good, he could give us four or five outs.”

* Ryan Zimmerman was included in the Washington, D.C. Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2024 earlier today.

Zimmerman, who spent his entire 17-year career with the Nationals and won a World Series in 2019, is among the nine individuals and one Team of Distinction that make up this year’s class.

The formal induction ceremony will be held at Nationals Park on Sunday, July 21, prior to the game against the Reds.

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