WASHINGTON -- Kurt Suzuki could return to the Nationals' lineup as soon as Tuesday night to catch Max Scherzer in the nightcap of the Nats’ split doubleheader against the Phillies.
Bench coach Chip Hale said Suzuki, who has missed almost two weeks with inflammation in his right elbow, was a possibility to catch Tuesday night after Suzuki threw in the outfield from more than 120 feet prior to Monday’s game.
“Honestly, if I play, I feel like I can do everything that I need to do to compete,” Suzuki said. “I’m not going to go out there and put myself in jeopardy or the team in jeopardy and not be able to compete. If I'm in the lineup, everybody should know that I can compete out there and I feel like I'm good enough to go.”
Suzuki has not started a game since Sept. 7, but he felt good enough to contribute as a pinch-hitter over the weekend in Miami, coming through with a three-run double in the 10th inning Saturday. Swinging a bat has not been the issue for Suzuki, who has been hitting in the cage for the past week and on the field recently.
The concern remains how much throwing Suzuki's elbow can handle, although he made light of just how much of an issue that would present, considering he has thrown out only five of 50 baserunners this year on stolen-base attempts.
“I know my numbers didn't look good, but I felt good,” Suzuki said. “If I can play, I didn't throw anybody out before. So, why not? What's the difference?”
Martinez undergoes further testing
Nationals manager Dave Martinez underwent some scheduled tests in Washington on Monday afternoon, a followup to the cardiac catheterization he had performed last week that kept him away from a three-game series in St. Louis.
Although Martinez, who turns 55 on Thursday, did not return to Nationals Park in time to meet with the media as he usually does before the game, he was expected to return to the dugout in time to manage Monday’s game against the Phillies.
“We knew this in Miami,” Hale said. “He told us he had one more battery of tests to take [Monday], and everything went well.”
Right-hander Joe Ross will start the first game of Tuesday’s split doubleheader, his first start since Sept. 2. He has been sidelined with a right forearm injury since being scratched from his start on Sept. 7 and is likely to be on a pitch count in his return. Righties Erick Fedde and Jeremy Hellickson are candidates to back him up in the bullpen.