“He’s hurting. It stinks. He was playing well,” Martinez said. “I hope he gets better soon.”
The Nationals called up 27-year-old catcher Spencer Kieboom to replace Wieters on the active roster, a move that required them to clear a spot on their 40-man roster, too. To do that, they moved outfielder Adam Eaton to the 60-day disabled list, retroactive to April 9. Eaton underwent ankle surgery Thursday, and though no one would provide a timetable for his return, the move indicates he will not be ready to play before the first week in June.
Kieboom was called up to the majors at the end of the 2016 season when Wilson Ramos tore his anterior cruciate ligament, a brief stint that resulted in one major league plate appearance but no official at-bats. Kieboom walked and therefore will risk his 1.000 career on-base percentage whenever he hits this week.
“I don’t know if I’m going to keep an 1.000 on-base percentage,” Kieboom said. “But this seems totally different than that. It’s a completely different scenario. Two years or a year and a half, it’s like you’re a different person at the same time, on the field, with different people, things like that. I guess you mature a lot, which is good.”
Kieboom has long been one of the more well-regarded members of the Nationals’ farm system, respected for his leadership abilities, work ethic and demeanor since Washington drafted him in the fifth round in 2012. He will serve as the backup to Pedro Severino, who is hitting .268 this season. Kieboom was hitting .250 at Class AAA Syracuse and earned the call over recently signed veteran Tuffy Gosewisch, who has half a decade of major league experience. Kieboom went 4 for 4 before his call-up Thursday, a game that raised his average nearly 40 points.
“It was really cold in Syracuse. I’m talking, like, freezing. It was hard to get it going,” Kieboom said. “I started warming up and started to get it going, and last night was great — just kind of capped off a really good night at the plate.”
Kieboom was not in the Nationals’ starting lineup Friday night. Neither was Ryan Zimmerman, sitting for the second straight game with back soreness stemming from slides into home plate earlier this week. Martinez said the first baseman is “day-to-day” but did not think he would be available to pinch hit Friday night.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS (21-18)
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (24-13)