The number of Nationals players on the injured list ballooned to 10 on Tuesday when reliever Tanner Rainey joined the group.
He has a right flexor strain. This can be a red flag for pitchers, indicating a UCL problem could be forthcoming, however Davey Martinez said Rainey just needs rest. Aaron Barrett was summoned to replace Rainey.
“[Rainey] came in today, said he felt a little bit better,” Martinez said. “We just want to be safe and make sure that he’s 100 percent when he comes back.”
Rainey’s 10-day injured list assignment is retroactive to Sept. 12, the furthest the Nationals could back date the move. So, he could return in the season’s final week. The team’s record at that point -- if it doesn’t already -- will likely mean Rainey is done pitching for the year.
Barrett, as is his wont, waded through some chaos and challenges to arrive back on the major-league roster. He departed the alternate training site in Fredericksburg last Wednesday in a rental car after his wife called to say child No. 2, Paxtyn, a boy, was on his way. Barrett drove 13 hours to Florida to witness the birth. Everything went well. However, his three-day clearance on the paternity list was quickly evaporating. So, Barrett commandeered another rental car, drove 13 hours back and received a call while en route,
“What time are you getting here?”
“I’ll be there at game time.”
A 6 p.m. start was scheduled in Fredericksburg. Barrett was asked if he could pitch. He answered yes, “crushed” a Red Bull, then threw an effective inning.
“Then I think I passed out,” Barrett said.
He is now back in Florida. The Nationals open a two-game series in Tampa Bay on Tuesday night before taking a day off, then playing five games in three days in Miami against the Marlins. They are 17-28 with their postseason hopes down to a flicker.