Wood, Crews playing for Rochester tonight; Gray, Cavalli resuming rehab

James Wood and Dylan Crews are teammates again. And for the first time, they’re teammates one step away from the major leagues.

Wood was activated off the minor league injured list today, just as Crews was promoted from Double-A Harrisburg, putting the Nationals’ top two prospects together in tonight’s lineup for Triple-A Rochester. Crews will lead off for the Red Wings and start in center field. Wood will bat right behind him and start in left field.

“They’re part of our big future here, and the future’s looking bright,” Nats manager Davey Martinez said. “The fact they’re up at the highest level in the minor leagues only tells me that they’re getting close.”

Wood was already dominating Triple-A pitching and seemed on the cusp of a final promotion to D.C. when he suffered a hamstring strain May 23 and landed on the 7-day IL. He returns just shy of four weeks later, healthy and hoping to pick up where he left off before getting hurt, when he was batting .355 with a .465 on-base percentage and 1.062 OPS in 45 games.

Crews, meanwhile, got his much anticipated promotion to Triple-A after a strong month-plus in Harrisburg following a slow start to his season. The No. 2 pick in last summer’s draft had a .664 OPS with only three extra-base hits in April. Since then, he has produced an .834 OPS with 16 extra-base hits in 39 games.

Both prospects have played center field more than any other position so far this season. Now teammates in Rochester, Wood appears set to play left field for the immediate future with Crews in center.

“I think for now they’ll probably focus on one position,” Martinez said. “We’ll see how that goes, but you never know what our needs are going to be here.”

The implication: With Wood perhaps a few weeks away from making his major league debut, the Nationals are prepping him to play left field alongside Jacob Young and Lane Thomas. Crews, whose debut could come later this season or perhaps not until 2025, could move around depending on the state of the big league outfield whenever his time comes.

“We made it this far with not trying to rush these guys,” Martinez said. “We’re going to continue to do that and make sure they’re ready. The big thing is to get them up here and have them stay up here.”

* Josiah Gray is set to make his next – and perhaps final – rehab start Wednesday for Harrisburg. The Nationals’ Opening Day starter, on the 15-day IL since mid-April with a right flexor strain, could be built up to six innings and 75-80 pitches if he’s efficient enough, a big step for him after a four-inning, 41-pitch outing last week for the Senators.

Asked if this could be his final start before he rejoins the big league rotation, Martinez was noncommittal.

“I’ll have a conversation once I see what he’s done and how he feels,” the manager said. “We’ll see. I don’t want to make any assumptions yet. I just want to see how tomorrow goes.”

* Cade Cavalli is ready to resume his rehab assignment and will pitch Friday for Single-A Wilmington. The right-hander could go three innings if he’s feeling strong and keeps his pitch count low enough.

This will be Cavalli’s fourth game appearance in his return from Tommy John surgery, but his first since May 30, after which the Nats put his rehab assignment on pause. He spent the last two weeks working with the major league club, ironing out mechanics and throwing to live hitters in simulated games.

It’s been a bit of a slow process, but the club insists it’s been worth it to make sure Cavalli is 100 percent ready when he’s activated in the coming weeks. And at times it’s been tough to stay patient.

“Uh, yes,” Martinez said with a laugh. “But the good news is, I know he’s getting better and he’s progressing. And we’ll see him soon.

“It’s been a long process for him, and he’s itching to get going. I told him: ‘We’re getting there, so let’s not go crazy. Let’s just continue to progress every day, and you’ll be ready as soon as you know it.”

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