Washington Nationals skipper Davey Martinez and early thoughts on spring training…

Davey Martinez had a simple message for his players going into lockdown in early December. Nobody knew how long the negotiations on a new CBA would last, but everyone had to be prepared for the possibility that it might end, and then it would be necessary to shift into high gear as quickly as possible to prepare for a formation of abbreviated spring.

“Before the lockdown we made sure to let these guys know that we don’t know how long this will take, we understand, but what we also need to understand is that when this thing breaks, it’s going to break fast , and you have to be ready,” Martinez told reporters during a Zoom call from Day 2 of Spring Training 2022 on Monday.

“We can’t wait for people to be out of shape, not in baseball shape as well. A lot of times you come to spring training, you have six weeks, guys kind of come – I said, ‘No, you have to be ready to play baseball,’ and they took it to heart.

Surveying the scene around the Nationals’ spring home in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Monday, Martinez was pleased with what he saw of the players the club brought together.

“I’ve been here for a month and watching some of our young players,” he said, “…and the energy they brought, I said, ‘Hey, we don’t have only three weeks, so we need that kind of energy right now, so we can do a lot of work and do it fast, but you’re all set to play. So they were good, they were really good. I saw some very good things today. »

What he saw was a mix of young players and veterans who will try to start turning things around at DC, after back-to-back seasons, in which the club fell short of 2019. World events to earn.

“Anibal [Sánchez] threw a bullpen today and he hit one, hit one, hit one. And he threw the ball really well, so it was good to see,” Martinez said.

“I’ve seen younger guys do the same thing. [Patrick] Murphy threw the ball very well. All these guys. [Kyle] Finnegan kicked the ball well. So it was good to see these guys, and like I said, we have a lot of work to do, but they are committed. I really thought – we didn’t know what to think because we couldn’t talk to anyone. But we have guys already ready to pitch in the game.

“They really took it to heart to prepare. And we have guys who have already thrown live BPs on their own, and there are guys we have to hold back a bit, but for the most part they all look really good.

The fact that everyone arrived at the camp ready to leave was a good sign for the skipper, all the messages from his staff were received by the players.

“It’s a testament to, first, how we preach things to them and what we expect of them, but ultimately they have to do it and they did. And I’m proud of them,” he said.

“Like I said, they looked really good, and I was actually beside myself watching those guys, and watching them run and watching them go through PFPs and things like that .

“Outfielders work, infielders – 25 minutes of ground balls on your first day is a lot, but they looked good and they were throwing the ball through the diamond really well.

“So I spoke to the coaches – like we always do after practice, and we always meet, and they were like, ‘Wow, this group really came back and really did what they had to do. , and they came back ready. ”

Since the lockdown ended, the Nationals have signed a number of veterans, and their mix of up-and-coming young lads and seasoned veterans is part of the plan as the club’s full restart continues after the July 30 deadline sale. trade, which brought an influx of young, big-league ready talent into the organization.

“We – I like the balance of what we’re doing right now,” Martinez said.

“These guys have had success, they understand the game,” he added of veterans like Sean Doolittle, Nelson Cruz (not yet official), Sanchez, etc.

“We bring in a guy, hopefully if he passes his physical, that can really teach our guys how to bat,” he said of Cruz.

“And it’s going to be great for our young players, and I know, as you all know, this guy is a professional hitter.

“And with Aníbal, he’s a guy who’s been around and understands how to throw, but another guy who understands how important it is to throw shots, and that’s what we try to teach our young pitchers, so he’s going to help a lot.

“And Doo, the experience he has in the bullpen, he’s going to help guys like a [Tanner] Rainey, and a couple fullbacks from the guys in the bullpen, because Doo did it, so – and again, we’ve run out of southpaws here and having another southpaw like him in the bullpen will definitely go to help.

Martinez learned a lot over the past season, and while they weren’t often winners, there was valuable learning going on that he believes will help moving forward.

“Look, last year we didn’t end up where we wanted to be,” Martinez explained, “…but those guys learned a lot. And me [sat] back and watched some of the games from last year, and those guys who played hard. We missed a lot at the end of baseball games, but these guys who played every day, they played hard, they played well, we scored a lot of runs in the second half of the season. Now, adding a few veterans here and there and trying to straighten out our bullpen, these guys understand what they need to do to play, and… we brought in some new coaches who I thought might help some of these younger players understand a bit more of the game, so we’ll stick with them.

“We’ve had a lot of Zoom calls this winter with the coaching staff, we’ve talked a lot about a lot of individual players and how we can improve them, so we’re going to apply that this spring with each of them.”

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