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Robles, Eaton, Thames eager to return to field

@jessicacamerato
March 5, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Victor Robles would like to be playing so badly, but the Nationals are keeping a close eye on him. The outfielder has been day-to-day because of left oblique soreness after he slipped in a Feb. 26 road game against the Yankees. The results from his

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Victor Robles would like to be playing so badly, but the Nationals are keeping a close eye on him.

The outfielder has been day-to-day because of left oblique soreness after he slipped in a Feb. 26 road game against the Yankees. The results from his MRI on Friday were negative.

“The swing’s not bothering him,” manager Dave Martinez said on Thursday prior to the Nationals’ 11-0 loss to the Cardinals. “It’s the throwing and a little bit on the running, stopping, that he feels it. But not bad. He said he’s getting better every day.”

Until Robles is cleared for all baseball activity, he will be under the watchful monitoring of the training staff. Martinez also has been checking in on Robles' progress, from on-field work to dropping by the gym. He recently observed Robles’ movement on an elliptical machine, noting, “I thought I go pretty fast. He made me look slow.

“I make sure I watch to see what he’s doing every day because a guy like him, he wants to do more. So, we’ve got to keep an eye on him. He does not like -- and he’s not very honest when it comes to that," said Martinez, laughing, "so I keep my eye on him, make sure that he’s doing the right thing. I watch him. He knows, too. He’s always telling me, ‘You’re always watching me.’ I said, ‘Yes. I am.’”

The Nationals are being cautious with any injuries on the roster this early into Spring Training. Robles has appeared in two spring games (0-for-4 with one run scored). Last season, he ranked fifth on the team with 139 hits.

Strasburg staying on schedule

The Nats are trying to keep their starting pitchers on a five-day schedule in preparation for the regular season. Wednesday would have been Stephen Strasburg’s turn in the rotation, but it happened to be an off-day. Instead of pushing his second appearance of Spring Training back a day, he threw the equivalent of three innings in a bullpen session, upping his pitch count to around 53.

“He wanted to stay on his routine,” Martinez said. “He threw well. He felt good. So we’ll get him back in his day to pitch.”

Strasburg made his first spring start last Friday after adjusting his debut schedule following a lengthy offseason.

Eaton ‘biting at the bit’

Add right fielder Adam Eaton to the list of eager-to-return players. Eaton left Tuesday’s victory against the Orioles with left hamstring tightness. The Nationals had an off-day on Wednesday, and Eaton was not in the lineup Thursday night.

“Eaton, he’s good. Just tightness,” Martinez said. “He’s been down here [in Florida] since Jan. 3, so he’s already biting at the bit.”

Return in sight for Thames

The Nationals have been getting different looks at first base from a trio of veterans during Spring Training, but they had been down to two recently as Eric Thames dealt with left calf tightness.

“He’s probably going to play this weekend,” Martinez said. “He’s doing well. He’s going to do all baseball activity today.”

Howie Kendrick started at first while Ryan Zimmerman DH’ed on Thursday against the Cardinals.

Up next

Aníbal Sánchez will take the mound against fellow right-hander Sandy Alcantara on Friday when the Nationals travel up the road to face the Marlins in Jupiter, Fla. First pitch at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Jessica Camerato covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @jessicacamerato, Facebook and Instagram.