Martinez on Robles, Strasburg and upcoming off-day (Nats win 5-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Victor Robles again tested his sore side by hitting in the cage today, and with a little luck, the center fielder could be back in the Nationals lineup sometime this weekend.

Robles has not appeared in a game since injuring himself on a throw Wednesday in Tampa, but manager Davey Martinez said he’s “getting better.”

Robles-Swings-Gray-Sidebar.jpgWith the Nationals off tomorrow, how Robles feels when he reports to camp ahead of Thursday night’s game will go a long way toward determining his next steps. Martinez said he would run Thursday and be re-evaluated.

“The hitting seems to be no issues, so that’s good,” Martinez said. “He’s been hitting in the cage a little bit. Just full baseball activity - once he shows me he can do that without any soreness, we’ll let him get out there and play a few innings and we’ll go from there.”

Martinez is hoping to get Robles back in a game soon.

“I anticipate maybe this weekend,” Martinez said. “We’ll see how he reacts. He hit pretty good in the cage today, so we’ll see how he reacts tomorrow.”

Martinez is waiting to confer with Stephen Strasburg to determine whether the right-hander will report to the Nationals facility on Wednesday’s off-day to get a throwing session in.

Strasburg’s next start would come Wednesday, but could be pushed to Thursday because of the off-day. Or Strasburg could opt to throw a bullpen session Thursday in lieu of the start and someone else could take the assignment.

“He’s going to throw a side and we’ll see how he feels,” Martinez said. “He might want to throw Thursday or he might just want to throw a bullpen. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Aside from injured players needing treatment or a pitcher who needs to get mandatory work in, Martinez had a warning for his players heading into the off-day.

“Unless you’re injured, I do not want to see anybody here. ... Other than that, stay home. Get out,” Martinez said. “Be with your family, whatever you want to do.”

Wednesday’s off-day has been circled on the calendar for weeks, and Martinez feels it’s important for the Nationals to get a little mental and physical break from the grind of spring camp.

“I spoke to them the other day about the day off coming up and about coming back with a little more of a sense of urgency,” he said.

After Wednesday, the Nationals will have 20 spring games left to get ready for the regular season and Martinez thinks after the break is the time to kick into high gear, as opposed to coasting to opening day.

“This time of spring you could kinda let off - let’s get through it,” he said. “We’ve got to build off that so we’re ready for opening day.”

The repetitiveness of camp may be wearing on some guys, but Martinez is focused on finding ways to break up the monotony. This morning, the Circle of Trust included a dunk tank, with a couple of clubhouse workers, communications director Kyle Brostowitz and pitching coach Paul Menhart taking the plunge to roars from players and staff.

“There is that little lull,” Martinez said, “but you’ve got to get them through it.”

Update: The Nats tagged lefty Ty Blach for five runs in the third inning, sending nine men to the plate and having five sraight reach base safely at one point. Andrew Stevenson had an RBI single, Juan Soto drove in two with a double, Howie Kendrick had a run-scoring single and Asdrúbal Cabrera added a sacrifice fly.

Stevenson is in the game replacing right fielder Adam Eaton, who jogged to the bench in the middle of the second inning.

Max Scherzer worked into the fourth, until a Rio Ruiz double ended his day. The right-hander worked 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He threw 54 pitches, 40 for strikes.

The Nats take a 5-3 lead to the fifth inning.

Final update: The Nationals had a few baserunners in the later innings, but nothing came of them. Relievers Hunter Strickland, Tanner Rainey, Kyle Finnegan, James Bourque and Sam Freeman each contributed a scoreless inning. Final score: Nats 5, Orioles 3.

blog comments powered by Disqus