Kendrick “75 to 80 percent” recovered from hamstring issue

Nationals manager Davey Martinez said he will decide after tonight’s game how he plans to set up the starting rotation for the remainder of this wraparound series with the Marlins. It appears he wants to go with experience rather than new starters in Saturday’s doubleheader.

Martinez had mentioned the possibility that right-hander Wil Crowe or left-hander Ben Braymer might get the chance to pitch in one of the games on Saturday. Max Scherzer is scheduled to start one of the games.

“Obviously, today we got (Patrick) Corbin,” Martinez said during a pregame Zoom video call. “After the game, we will figure out how we want to align things up. Obviously, it is Max’s day. So he will pitch one of the games. We don’t know if it’s game one or game two yet. It’s either going to be (Erick) Fedde (for the other game), that’s what I’m leaning towards, so we’ll see.”

If the Nationals win tonight, Martinez might be inclined to give one of the youngsters a shot at the start Saturday. That way, he could have Fedde available to piggyback another starter for the next couple of days.

The Nationals have not played since Wednesday night, so the bullpen is rested. But Martinez said he also wants to keep the momentum going. He likes the way the team has been playing the last few series, while going 5-4 on the road trip.

“It was unfortunate we got rained out in Atlanta,” Martinez said. “I thought we were playing really well. But our bullpen did need some days off. So they are refreshed and ready to go. It gives our starting pitching an extra day so they are good to go as well.”

Starlin Castro had surgery today to place a pin in his broken right wrist. Martinez did not have an update on Castro. But left-hander Sean Doolittle took a big step forward today in his rehab as he recovers from right knee fatigue.

“Doolittle threw a 24-pitch sim game, said he felt pretty good,” Martinez said. “So we will see how he feels tomorrow and then we will go from there. But he said he felt good.”

Kendrick-Swing-Blue-NLCS-Sidebar.jpgNoticeable by his absence from the lineup again is veteran Howie Kendrick, who is nursing a tight hamstring.

“He is progressing,” Martinez said. “He’s out there running right now, so I’ll get more information when he comes back in. With Howie, like I said before, we got to make sure we take care of him. We don’t want this to become a bigger issue. The other day he said he was about 75 to 80 percent, so that was encouraging.

“We will see how he feels today. He’s going to let me know. I hoping that he will be available to pinch-hit today. Being that we have two games tomorrow, maybe play in one of the games. But we will see how he feels after he runs.”

Martinez is showing confidence in second baseman Luis GarcĂ­a, placing the rookie in the five-hole in the lineup for tonight’s opener against the Marlins.

“He puts the ball in play,” Martinez said. “That’s kind of what we are looking for. He’s not afraid, so we kind of like that. We like that matchup today with him, so we will see what we have. I explained to him no matter where you hit in the lineup, after your first at-bat, you are just part of a lineup. You go up there and get many opportunities to do different things, so just keep working the ball up the middle.”

In 17 big league at-bats, Garcia has a .389 on-base percentage and an .977 OPS, with a double, a homer and four RBIs.

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