Nationals notebook: Dave Martinez explains why Stone Garrett hasn’t been in lineup for past five games

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

Stone Garrett has been glued to the bench for the past five games despite leading the team in most statistics through just three games and 14 plate appearances. He has not even been used in a pinch-hitting situation.

Why is this? Well, Dave Martinez was asked ahead of Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Guardians why Garrett hasn’t been seen in the lineup. Martinez explained it was a mixture of both Alex Call and Lane Thomas‘ strong outings and matchups.

“That’s a matchup (issue), and those other guys are playing well. Lane (Thomas) and Alex Call have been getting some big hits for us, getting on base. It’s tough to take them out right now. I’ve talked to (Garrett) about just hanging in there. We haven’t faced any lefties, either, in a while. Just be ready when you’re called upon … If Stone was left-handed, it might be a different conversation.”

— Manager Dave Martinez said to the media in the pregame on Saturday

Thomas and Call have both been off to solid starts this season — Call entered tonight hitting .233 with one homer, nine RBI, and an 87 wRC+ while he’s slated a walk rate of 16.7% (89th percentile) and is in the 88th percentile of sprint speed. Thomas hit .315 with five RBI and a 100 wRC+ ahead of tonight.

Also, the last time the Nats faced a lefty was the day after he started in Colorado, the series opener against the Angels.

Garrett was asked if it’s tougher physically or mentally not being in the lineup for five straight games.

“I think mentally. Physically, you just do your best to get your body warm. But mentally, throw yourself into the game. You really have to focus on keeping up with the game, who’s warming up in the pen, what inning we’re in, what matchup you could face. I definitely say mentally, for sure.”

— Garrett said

But, with Washington in need of power, wouldn’t it be tempting to put Garrett in the lineup despite the matchup liability?

“It could be. Against left-handed pitching, it would be nice to get him in there. I look at all the matchups, all the numbers. Right now with Alex and Lane, they match up better. But I told him: ‘Hang in there. You’re going to get some opportunities. Just be ready.’”

— Martinez said

The Nationals made a pair of depth signings Friday, as they signed Richie Martin and Nomar Mazara to minor league deals.

Mazara, 27, was released by the Orioles on March 27 after not making Baltimore’s Opening Day roster. The left-handed bat spent his 2022 with the Padres, playing 55 games along with 35 games in Triple-A where he hit .264 with two homers, 18 RBI, and a 94 wRC+ . The outfielder began his career with the Rangers, playing 537 games for Texas from 2016-2019, before spending 2020 with the White Sox and 2021 with the Tigers.

In his career, Mazara has authored a .256 batting average, 85 homers, and an 89 wRC+ in 684 appearances. He played both Friday and Saturday for Triple-A Rochester, while Martin played in Saturday’s affair for the Red Wings.

The 28-year-old shortstop in Martin played 120 games for the Orioles in 2019 but appeared in just 50 games from 2021-2022, struggling to stay in the majors. Like Mazara, he was granted release by the Reds after not making the Opening Day roster.

Through 170 career big-league games, the right-handed hitting shortstop has hit .212 to go along with 34 RBI, seven homers, and a 50 wRC+, while defensively at short, he’s notched -18 defensive runs saved.

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