Nationals infielders Howie Kendrick and Trea Turner sat out Saturday’s simulated game. Kendrick is still nursing upper back tightness, and manager Davey Martinez wanted to give his shortstop a day too.
“He just sat out,” Martinez said, referring to Turner, during this afternoon’s Zoom call. “He plays every day, every inning, so he just wanted a couple days off. Probably be back out there tomorrow. Howie said he felt better today. He’s going to see how he feels tomorrow. He might get a couple at-bats tomorrow, and then we’ll go from there.
“(Eric) Thames has a little bit of a back thing going on as well, so he was off today. He got a bunch of treatment, said he felt a little better, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Reliever Wander Suero made an appearance in Saturday’s sim game. Martinez likes seeing the right-hander back at Nats Park, and the velocity slowly inching back up.
“He’s close,” said Martinez. “He was 90, 91 (mph), which is encouraging. I liked what I saw. He’s throwing the ball good. Once he’s back on the field facing a different opponent, you’ll see that spike up a little bit, velo. We’re going to try to get him back out, see how he feels tomorrow, probably Monday, and get him throwing again and then seeing how he feels then.
Suero’s return will be especially important because the club is without Will Harris, who is mending from a groin injury.
“We just want to get him right,” Martinez said. “He tweaked his groin a little bit and we talked to doctors, training staff, and we just want to get him right. We can use these couple of days to back-dating him. We will see. Hopefully, we can get this issue resolved and get back on the mound. Hopefully, by next weekend.”
Right-hander Stephen Strasburg did not make an appearance at the sim game, but continues his throwing program as he recovers from a right wrist injury.
“He threw a little bit today,” Martinez said. “He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen. I don’t know if it’s going to be tomorrow or even possibly Tuesday. So, we will wait and see. He threw the ball again today. It was nice to see. He said he felt nothing. He’s right on schedule to come back here real soon.”
Wil Crowe started today’s sim game. Martinez is looking to get the right-hander ramped up the next few days so he will be game-ready in case he needs him.
“He’s a guy we count on if somebody goes down in our starting rotation,” Martinez said. “We just got to build him up. He’s got to build up his innings. Today he threw two innings. We are going to try to get him up to five innings if possible. We got to build him up.”
Sean Doolittle also pitched in the sim game.
“His velocity is still a little down,” Martinez said of his lefty closer. “He started elevating his fastball, which is kind of nice. When he is throwing the ball well he’s going to pitch up in the zone. We talked about that. He threw some balls up in the zone. Guys mishit him, bunch of fly balls, so that part is nice. But his velocity still a little down and, hopefully, as we get this thing going, he pitches more and more, the velocity will come back.”
Hours after the Nats finished their sim game, the Blue Jays took the field for a workout and batting practice. They are waiting to head to Atlanta on Tuesday for a series against the Braves. The Jays’ weekend series with the Phillies was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak among the Marlins, who recently played in Philadelphia.