Suero, Elías placed on IL for undisclosed reasons (updated)

The Nationals placed relievers Wander Suero and Roenis Elías on the injured list this evening, the first such transactions the club has made involving any of the eight players who had yet to be cleared to participate in summer training.

No reason for Suero and Elías’ placement on the IL was provided, but neither pitcher has been present through the first 11 days of at workouts at Nationals Park, both required to remain in quarantine.

“I can’t say anything about that,” manager Davey Martinez said when asked about Suero and Elías following this evening’s intrasquad game. “It’s all based on protocol now. We have to wait and see. Hopefully, we get them back here fairly soon. That’s all I can tell you. Hopefully sooner than later.”

To date the Nationals have only confirmed that eight players (Suero, Elías, Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Howie Kendrick, Luis García, Fernando Abad and Joan Adon) have not been cleared to participate in camp, that two players of the 58 total who received intake screening upon arriving in Washington two weeks ago tested positive for COVID-19 but were asymptomatic and that others were required to wait in quarantine because they had been in contact with people who had tested positive.

Wander-Suero-Delivers-at-PHI-Gray-Sidebar.jpgNone of the other six has been seen in camp yet, with 10 days to go until opening night against the Yankees. Soto, Robles and Kendrick all are being counted on as lineup regulars.

“We’ve got two young guys, really young guys,” Martinez said, referencing Soto and Robles. “So I’m hoping those guys have been working out these last few months, and it won’t take them that long. The biggest thing is getting those guys at-bats. Hopefully we can get them back here soon, so they can take some BP and even get them in a game in a DH role, just to get them some swings against live pitching.”

“The other one, we’ve got to be careful with,” Martinez added, referencing the 37-year-old Kendrick. “We’ll see where he’s at, as well. But you’re talking about three guys that are big pieces to our lineup. We need them. And hopefully we can get them back as soon as possible.”

Though Martinez said tonight’s transaction doesn’t officially rule out Suero or Elías for the opener, they would be left with very little time to prepare even if cleared to return soon.

In all likelihood, the team will be forced to delve further into its bullpen depth chart than originally planned.

“When they come back, they’ve got to pitch,” Martinez said. “They’ve got to build their pitch count up. They’ve got to face live hitters. They’ve got to do a lot of things. I don’t want to speculate anything, but we’ll see when they come in how they’re doing, and we’ll go from there.”

Suero and Elías both were near locks to make the 30-man roster, slotting in behind veteran late-inning specialists Sean Doolittle, Daniel Hudson and Will Harris, plus second-year right-hander Tanner Rainey.

Their absence opens the door for several other relievers in camp to make the club. Included among the group competing for spots are right-handers Javy Guerra, Ryne Harper, Kyle Finnegan, Kevin Quackenbush, James Bourque and Aaron Barrett, plus lefties Sam Freeman and Abad (if cleared to participate).

“It’s a big loss, for sure,” Martinez said. “But we’re looking at the guys that are here. I’ve seen some good things out of a few of these guys already. I think for the time being, we’ve got what we need to start the season. Hopefully, we get these guys back as soon as possible, and they’re not that far behind.”

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