CHICAGO - Davey Martinez was admittedly concerned about Matt Adams’ strained left oblique after Monday night’s game.
“Whenever it’s an oblique, that’s going to be days missed,” the manager said following his team’s otherwise uplifting 12-1 thumping of the White Sox.
But today brought encouraging news about the slugger, enough to keep him from going on the injured list for now.
“Actually, he’s a lot better than we anticipated,” Martinez said this afternoon. “He woke up today and he’s not as sore. We’re going to wait. The day off helps us. So right now he’s day-to-day, which is really nice.”
Interleague play in an American League park allows the Nationals to go with a shorter bench, because they don’t need to worry about pinch-hitting for the pitcher or making double-switches. So the club is willing to go with essentially a two-man healthy bench tonight (Michael A. Taylor and Kurt Suzuki) and then take advantage of Wednesday’s day off before they’ll need to re-evaluate Adams’ status heading into Thursday’s homestand opener against the Diamondbacks.
“The thing about it is, if you look at our lineup, we’re not going to pinch-hit for anybody,” Martinez said. “The fact of having good news and potentially not losing him for 10 days is nice.”
Adams hurt himself on a sixth inning check-swing during Monday’s game. He finished out his at-bat but was replaced at first base by Gerardo Parra the following frame.
Parra is starting at first base tonight, with Howie Kendrick serving as designated hitter. Those two could share time if Adams does eventually need to go on the IL, with Ryan Zimmerman also progressing toward a return from his right foot injury.
Zimmerman took grounders and throws in the field and then a full round of batting practice today as he recovers from plantar fasciitis. The Nationals hope to have him attempt to run again this weekend, and if he’s able to make it through that with no issues he’ll head out on a brief rehab assignment before coming off the IL.
Update: Things got off to a splendid start for the Nationals tonight. They jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead thanks to Anthony Rendon’s 13th homer of the season and made White Sox starter Manny Bañuelos throw 36 pitches to only six batters. But then Patrick Corbin took the mound for the bottom of the first and ran into the same problem that plagued him his last two starts: poor fastball command. Consistently falling behind hitters, Corbin gave up a double and a pair of two-out walks. Then after falling behind 2-0 to Welington Castillo - both balls were borderline pitches that could’ve been called strikes by plate umpire Chad Whitson - he grooved a fastball over the plate and watched as Castillo launched it to center field for a grand slam. So that 2-0 lead immediately turned into a 4-2 deficit, not to mention more evidence to be concerned about Corbin.
Update II: Corbin has settled down, and at one point retired seven in a row. But then he left a 1-1 fastball to Eloy Jiménez up and out over the plate and watched it soar 462 feet to center field. That extended the White Sox’s lead to 5-2, and that’s where it remains after five innings because the Nats (despite some loud contact) haven’t been able to put any more runs on the board since Rendon’s first inning homer.
Update III: Make it 7-2 after six innings. Corbin simply couldn’t right the ship. He departed having allowed seven runs in five-plus innings, and that’s now three consecutive subpar starts from the lefty after a 116-pitch shutout. That’s cause for concern.