“He felt something when he went to block that ball in his hip flexor,” Martinez said. “We don’t know the severity of it yet. We’ll know more tomorrow. But it is his right hip flexor.
“His strength was good, but we’ll see. I don’t know if he’s going to get an MRI, I haven’t talked to Paul (Lessard, head athletic trainer) yet or not about it. But we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Suzuki was replaced by Yan Gomes behind the plate in the seventh inning of the Nats’ 4-1 loss to the Astros. The previous inning, Martinez and Lessard visited the starting backstop after he blocked a Fernando Rodney changeup to George Springer that bounced in the dirt with a runner on third base.
“Yeah, I just felt a little thing in my hip on that block,” he said. “Felt like I would be doing a disservice to the team if I was still playing. One of those things where you try to fight through it, but I could have and I wouldn’t have been helping the team.”
Suzuki said he was hopeful he’d feel better Saturday. He hasn’t previously dealt with a hip problem, he added.
“Obviously, you try to stay positive,” he said. “It’s not like you can wait until the next series, you know?” You’ve got to come back as soon as you can.”
With left-hander Patrick Corbin scheduled to start Game 4, it’s doubtful Suzuki would have been in Saturday’s starting lineup anyway. Gomes is usually paired with Corbin and said he is preparing to start Saturday night’s game.
“I don’t want to give off the starting lineup, but I think with Corbin pitching tomorrow I’d guess that I’ll be catching,” Gomes said. “It was good to come in today. Unfortunately, it was with Kurt having to come out, but we are all praying for him. Hopefully, he gets back behind the plate and gets back to playing.”
While teams are permitted to replace a player on the 25-man roster during the postseason, such a move has to be approved by a doctor affiliated with Major League Baseball. Under postseason rules, a player removed from the 25-man roster in the midst of a series must also sit out the next playoff round, a moot point since this is the World Series.
Suzuki was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in Game 3, and is 2-for-11 with a homer and an RBI in the World Series. For the first time in the Fall Classic, the Astros tested him on the basepaths Friday night, stealing four bases and forcing him into a throwing error on a sixth-inning swipe by Kyle Tucker, a peg that sailed into center field and allowed Tucker to move to third.
But Martinez said the stolen bases were more a byproduct of starting pitcher Aníbal Sánchez’s inability to hold runners close.
“If I had to pick one weakness from Aníbal, it’s holding the runners on,” Martinez said. “And we knew that. We tried different things. But he gets so focused on getting hitters out that sometimes he gets a little long.”