Notes: Rally Caps; Strasburg improving

May 1st, 2021

WASHINGTON -- How does a hockey helmet wind up inside the clubhouse at Nationals Park?

The question was sparked when sported a red helmet for his postgame videoconference following his 10th-inning walk-off home run in Friday's 2-1 victory over the Marlins. Turns out, it was a neighborly gift.

“The [Washington] Capitals,” manager Dave Martinez said on Saturday morning. “They sent it to me in Spring Training.”

The NHL club wears Nationals helmets during their own Player of the Game commemorations. Now, the Nats have their own celebratory garb. Martinez keeps the rally helmet in his office -- and yes, he has tried it on -- and bequeaths it upon a standout player after a notable win.

“I thought [Friday] was a perfect time to break it out and a perfect guy to wear it,” Martinez said of Schwarber. “He was all excited about wearing it for the postgame. You’ll probably see it a little bit more, hopefully.”

Schwarber kept the helmet on the entire time he discussed boosting the Nats with a monster 454-foot shot. Then he passed it on to pitcher , who wore it for the first few questions about his season debut.

“It is pretty cool,” Lester said Friday night. “You always know with Davey, there’s always going to be something interesting happening in the clubhouse.”

Strasburg progressing
is continuing to progress in his recovery from right shoulder inflammation. He was cleared to throw his first bullpen session on Saturday morning prior to the Nationals' 7-2 victory over the Marlins, and he tossed almost 30 pitches.

“He threw the ball well,” Martinez said. “He had no issues, he felt good.“

The Nationals plan to reevaluate Strasburg on Sunday, and he could throw another bullpen session “in a couple of days.” The right-hander was placed on the 10-day injured list on April 18, retroactive to April 15.

What’s next for Parra
As players dispersed from the alternate training site in Fredericksburg, Va., ahead of the Minor League season, the Nats are looking for veteran to get more reps in upcoming game action. Parra was working his way back this spring from right knee surgery last fall. The Nationals plan for him to play all three outfield positions, first base and some designated hitter.

“He’s actually doing good,” Martinez said. “I’m excited about having these guys play every day and getting consistent at-bats.”