Nationals

Nationals

Victor Robles ran in his parking garage and lifted weights in his apartment for two weeks. Without anyone around to do his usual high-energy visiting with, he listened to music and watched a lot of Netflix.

He was let out of that quarantine life Saturday. Sunday, he was back to work for the first time since Major League Baseball training began again. He took six at-bats during the Nationals’ light intrasquad game. Robles also ran the bases and spent time in the outfield.

The problem for him -- despite his bubbling muscles and the benefit of being just 23 years old -- is Opening Day is four days away. That may be too soon for even someone of his construct. At least to other people.

“Absolutely,” Robles said through interpreter Octavio Martinez when asked if he could be ready for Opening Day. “I think I have the ability and the youth that helps me get ready quickly. I think the team brought enough things for me to work on to where I feel like I’m definitely going to be able to be ready for Opening Day, if possible.”

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Davey Martinez is less sure. He said Saturday the Nationals were going to be “very careful” with Robles. For instance, Robles could miss the opener, use the Friday off-day for further preparation, then be ready for the second game Saturday. That would buy him an extra 48 hours in the short season.

 

The challenge is for Robles to miss that first day in a season where every game counts 2.7 times as much. In essence, one win or loss is equal to three of those in a regular season.

And, the Nationals will be short in the bullpen. Wander Suero and Roenis Elías, both on the 10-day injured list for undisclosed reasons since July 13, threw side sessions Sunday. They are far from ready.

Which means the Nationals will be short-handed Thursday, no matter what happens the next few days. The question is how short-handed.

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