Besides the Soto news from today’s press conference, there were a few additional highlights that we fans of the team might have missed:
One highlight and an interesting nugget that Martinez mentioned was the status of the catcher’s position and who will be getting the bulk of the starts. When asked about the catcher’s position, Martinez said that recent acquisition Keibert Ruiz will be getting the “bulk” of the starts behind home plate this season, which makes complete sense. It’s time to see how the kid can play for a full season! Game ON!
Related Article: Thankfully, the Nationals Finally Figured out the Catchers Position
Yeah, remember Stephen Strasburg? According to Martinez, Strasburg will participate fully in camp and work on staying healthy during the season. When asked about the status of Strasburg, Martinez said, “We talked, and he wants to attack spring training as if it was just a normal spring training,” Martinez said. “That’s an indication for me that he’s feeling pretty good.” Rizzo also got asked about the status of Strasburg “We don’t have a whole lot of knowledge on pitchers with the thoracic outlet surgery, but I do know that he looks in great shape and he feels good with his throwing program,” Rizzo said. “He’s on pace (to start the season). You never know until you let it let it loose for 32 starts to see where you’re at health-wise. But he looks good; he feels good. He feels confident, and the good thing is he’s in spring training, getting prepared for the season, and not in a rehabilitation mode. So that’s a good thing.”
There was some bad news coming out of the press conference about Joe Ross. Ross will be out six to eight weeks while recovering from arthroscopic surgery last week to remove a bone spur discovered in his right elbow. According to Rizzo, Ross felt “a little tingle” in his elbow while ramping up in his throwing program for this season. The team performed an MRI, and it relieved a bone spur, and Ross then traveled to Dallas to remove it. “Kind of feeling a little bit of relief that it was only this bone spur on the tip of his elbow that was making him feel uncomfortable… So we felt that instead of pitching through it, or doing the anti-inflammatory, rest type of thing, we both figured it’s such a minor surgery, we’d knock it out and give him his best chance to try to perform for us the majority of the season,” said Rizzo about Ross. For those who might have forgotten, Joe Ross was shut down back in August with a UCL sprain.
In the first press conference post-lockout, Mike Rizzo was asked Sunday about the teams’ leadership now that club veteran Ryan Zimmerman retired, the Nationals GM didn’t hesitate with an answer: “This is Juan Soto’s team.” It’s pretty impressive that only three years into his professional career Juan Soto has become the face of the Washington Nationals. (more on that later this week.) Another quote that blew up Nationals’ Twitter yesterday was Rizzo’s answer when he was asked about the extension that Soto turned down in November, Rizzo said: “We’re going to attack a deal with Juan Soto… This is his team. He’s the face of the franchise. I want him here for the long term. We’re going to continue to talk and try to make him a Nat for a long time… Our side plans to pick it up very soon. He’s our No. 1 priority.” Hopefully, Soto along with his super-agent Scott Boras was listening closely.
Either way, it is good to have baseball back and us talking about, well, anything but the International Draft and salaries.