Martinez impressed with Robles' diligence

Soto nearing return from back spasms; Stevenson feeling better

May 8th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- With the Nationals unable to score on Tuesday, ' throw from right field when snapped a scoreless tie with a bases-loaded double might not have mattered on the scoreboard.

But it mattered to Robles.

Robles missed the cutoff man on the throw in the seventh inning, allowing the Brewers to score three runs on the hit instead of maybe just two. Milwaukee went on to score all of its runs in the same frame in a 6-0 victory over Washington.

"The funny thing about that is that he came up to us after and he says, 'I made a bad throw, I need to hit the cutoff man,'" manager Dave Martinez said Wednesday. "I said, 'Hey, you live and learn. It's a tough lesson, but next time you know, hit the cutoff man.' Simple. But, he gets it."

The 21-year-old Robles, who played in 13 games with Washington in 2017 and 21 games last season, entered '19 as the Nationals' top prospect, as well as the best defensive outfielder, best outfield arm and fastest baserunner in their system, according to Baseball America.

Seeing regular playing time this season, Robles is hitting .263 with six homers and 14 RBIs, along with a team-high eight stolen bases. He also has struck out 41 times in 133 at-bats.

"You're talking about a kid that plays all out, all heart, does everything you ask of him," Martinez said. "Yesterday, he lays down a beautiful bunt and gets on base. He tries to do the little things, tries to perfect everything. You're going to get those moments with him, you are. It's a learning process and he's learning. He's developing really well."

"The biggest thing with him now is just that he's so raw and so good at everything, and he's got power, but once again, we talk about the little things," Martinez said. "And he brings it up, I've got to do the little things today."

Soto close to returning

Outfielder , on the 10-day injured list since May 1 with back spasms, could return by this weekend for part of the series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.

"He’s getting close," Martinez said. "He's going to hit in the cage today, take some swings. Yesterday, he ran around pretty good, he threw, and he looked good. The next hurdle is to get him to swing the bat and see how he feels.

"I'm hoping that by Saturday, he's available," Martinez said.

Soto is hitting .248 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 105 at-bats.

Worth noting

Outfielder , who left Monday night’s game in Milwaukee in the fourth inning with back spasms, is improving.

"He's better," said Martinez. "He's still sore, but he's a lot better today than he was yesterday."