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Castro eyes playoff return; Doolittle throws

@jessicacamerato
August 18, 2020

Starlin Castro is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair his broken right wrist on Friday, and he’s already eyeing his return. Washington's Opening Day second baseman will have a pin placed in his wrist, which he injured attempting to make a diving play last Friday against the Orioles. Nationals manager

Starlin Castro is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair his broken right wrist on Friday, and he’s already eyeing his return.

Washington's Opening Day second baseman will have a pin placed in his wrist, which he injured attempting to make a diving play last Friday against the Orioles. Nationals manager Dave Martinez said on Tuesday that this type of procedure is intended to lead to a quicker recovery.

There is no timetable for when Castro can play again, but the first-year Nationals infielder expressed his goals when speaking to Martinez on Tuesday morning.

“He sounded upbeat,” Martinez said. “He said, ‘Just get to the playoffs and I’ll be back there to help you guys.’ So that was encouraging.”

Luis García, Washington’s No. 2 prospect for MLB Pipeline, will remain in the starting lineup in place of Castro. On Monday, he became the first player born in the 2000s to hit a home run, the same feat Castro accomplished for players born in the 1990s.

Doolittle returns to throwing
After being placed on the 10-day injured list last Thursday because of a fatigued right knee, left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle threw 20 pitches on flat ground on Tuesday.

“He said he felt good,” Martinez said. “He said the knee felt fine.”

If Doolittle still feels OK on Wednesday, the Nationals plan for him to throw 10 to 12 pitches off the mound. Doolittle has struggled this season, giving up five runs on seven hits in three innings over five appearances. Martinez said there is inflammation in Doolittle’s right knee, and the team didn’t want him to continue to land on it in game action.

Catchers seeing double
With Howie Kendrick still out of the lineup because of tightness in his hamstrings, Martinez plugged catcher Kurt Suzuki into the designated hitter role on Tuesday against Braves right-hander Josh Tomlin.

“I kind of like Zuk’s bat in the lineup today,” Martinez said. “Talked to him last night, and he was all for it.”

That makes it a two-catcher batting order with Suzuki hitting fifth behind Asdrúbal Cabrera and starting catcher Yan Gomes batting seventh. After beginning the season hitless in his first four games, Gomes is batting .375 (6-for-16) with one double, one triple, three runs and four RBIs in his last four games.

“He’s swinging at more strikes, and that’s always good for him,” Martinez said. “He’s got to get the ball down in the strike zone. Anything elevated, he struggles with. But he’s getting ready. He’s on time a lot better. That’s something that happens, especially when the beginning of the season, your timing is a little off. He’s corrected it and he’s swinging the bat really well.

“Yan, as we all know, he’s unbelievable behind the plate. When that bat gets going, he can do some damage. We need that bat to get going.”

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