WASHINGTON -- Reliever Koda Glover and Victor Robles, MLB Pipeline's top Nationals prospect, began rehab assignments Saturday with rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Nationals general manager and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo said Glover and Robles aren't under restrictions and might contribute when rosters expand in September.Glover hasn't played since
WASHINGTON -- Reliever Koda Glover and Victor Robles, MLB Pipeline's top Nationals prospect, began rehab assignments Saturday with rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Nationals general manager and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo said Glover and Robles aren't under restrictions and might contribute when rosters expand in September.
Glover hasn't played since June 10, 2017, due to right shoulder tendinitis. The right-hander served as the Nationals' closer for a portion of the season, recording a 5.12 ERA with eight saves, 17 strikeouts and four walks in 23 games while showcasing his upper-90s sinker. Glover was expected to play a key role in the bullpen this season, but manager Dave Martinez is impressed with the 25-year-old's progress.
The Nationals have added Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler and Kelvin Herrera since Glover last closed, so Glover would likely assume a middle relief role, if he returns.
"I don't think he's going to throw back-to-back days here relatively soon, but at least he's pitching," Martinez said. "Right now it's like him going through Spring Training, and that's how I look at it. Hopefully he's ready when we need him."
Robles suffered a hyperextended left elbow in April while playing with Triple-A Syracuse. MLB Pipeline's No. 6 overall prospect would've likely been called up to the Nationals if he had remained healthy. Instead, Washington has relied on 19-year-old Juan Soto, who's hitting .305 with 24 RBIs and eight home runs in 42 games entering Saturday.
If Robles is healthy by September, he'd probably take on a bench role since the Nationals feature a crowded outfield of Soto, Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Michael A. Taylor and Brian Goodwin.
"We're going to take our time with him and go slow," Rizzo said. "He's under no restrictions, so as long as he feels good and can participate, we'd like to get him as many reps as we can."
During Spring Training with the Nationals, Robles, 21, stood out defensively, but he recorded a .188/.216/.313 slash line.
Robles played 13 games with the Nationals in 2017, hitting 6-for-24 with a double, two triples, four RBIs and six strikeouts. He posted a .300/.382/.493 slash line with 55 extra-base hits and 27 stolen bases in 114 games between Class A Advanced and Double-A Harrisburg last season.
Matt Wieters is scheduled to catch seven innings with Harrisburg on Saturday and then catch between six and seven innings Sunday. Wieters, the Nationals' starting catcher before his injury, has been on the disabled list since May 11 with a left hamstring strain.
Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com.