It turns out that left fielder Juan Soto’s right ankle is good to go and he is back in the starting lineup for tonight’s game against the Reds. Soto was injured rounding third base late in Sunday’s win over the Mets and had to leave the game.
Nationals manager Davey Martinez said he had to hold Soto back from trying to get into Monday night’s game as well.
“He checked all the boxes. We got him on the field, he ran angles. He turned like he was running the bases. The biggest thing was the turns,” Martinez said. “He said he felt great. He was bugging me yesterday to go in the game and I told him to just sit down and relax. But he was not happy that he had to sit and watch. He kept bugging to pinch-hit and I was like, ‘Just sit down, OK? You’ll be fine.’ “
Martinez said he is giving right fielder Adam Eaton a day of rest and it is not because of any health-related issue.
“He’s been playing really well, really well,” Martinez said. “So we are just giving him a day off.”
Second baseman Brian Dozier, who was under the weather the last couple of days, also returns to the starting lineup tonight.
“He feels better today,” Martinez said. “I texted him this morning and he gave me two emojis: two thumbs up. I didn’t emoji back, I just said, ‘Are you good?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah.’ “
Was yesterday’s emoji from Dozier the green vomit emoji?
“No,” Martinez chuckled. “He texted back: ‘Not feeling well.’ “
Ross has not allowed a run in those last two starts and just four base hits in a span of 11 1/3 innings.
“Those two guys coming up and doing what they did has been awesome,” Martinez said. “They’ve taken a lot of stress from me, but also from the bullpen too. They’re going six innings. Yesterday, Fedde (in) the sixth inning was really feeling it and he got through it. I thought that was part of his maturity that he is starting to realize what he can do. It was big for him.”
Martinez said a key for Ross’s resurgence is his use of the two-seam fastball, changeup and curveball.
“The curveball has been a little bit more effective,” Martinez said. “He’s throwing it a lot more. He’s throwing the slider on occasion. But his changeup has been really good. His two-seamer has been the key. Throwing his two-seamer down and throwing it for strikes - in and out, both sides of the plate - helps him establish getting ahead and then being able to use his secondary pitches. When he keeps the ball down, he’s really, really effective.”
Update: Right-handed reliever Greg Holland has passed his physical and joined Double-A Harrisburg. He pitched in 40 games this season with Arizona, going 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA, 17 saves and five blown saves. Last season, he was 2-0 with three saves an 0.84 ERA in 24 appearances with the Nats.