Martinez, 54, underwent a cardiac catheterization Monday in Washington after first feeling chest pains during the Nationals’ game Sunday afternoon. Doctors mandated that he avoid air travel for an amount of time that Rizzo did not specify. A person with knowledge of the situation said it’s likely two to three days if Martinez is capable of getting on a plane. That could put Martinez on schedule to manage the Nationals for their series opener against the Marlins on Friday in Miami.
Rizzo confirmed that bench coach Chip Hale will manage the club’s final two games against the Cardinals, starting with the 7:45 p.m. matchup Tuesday. The general manager would not put a timetable on Martinez’s return, knowing that plans are subject to change. Washington has a day off Thursday in Miami before playing 11 games in 10 days to finish the regular season.
“Nothing major,” Rizzo said of Martinez’s test results. "The [cardiac catheterization] is the only thing that he had. He’s going to take some further testing down the road, but there is nothing vital that he has to take now. [The later testing is] to monitor him for the long term.”
A cardiac catheterization, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a procedure used to diagnose and treat certain cardiovascular conditions. It requires doctors to insert a catheter in an artery or vein in a person’s groin, neck or arm, and that catheter is threaded through the patient’s blood vessels to the heart. That allows doctors to run diagnostic tests and see if a person’s heart is in a state that requires further testing or procedures. Martinez’s overall results were encouraging.
In the meantime, the second-year manager continues to be involved from afar. He texted Hale the lineup for Monday’s 4-2 loss. He did so again for Tuesday’s game and broke down the results with Rizzo when they chatted on the phone. Rizzo noted that it was more baseball talk than health talk, a signal to him that Martinez is feeling like himself, and he was optimistic about Martinez’s ability to slide back into the playoff race.
The race is getting tighter. The Nationals entered Tuesday a half-game ahead of the Chicago Cubs for the National League’s top wild-card spot. They were only 1½ games up on the Milwaukee Brewers to play in the wild-card game at all. That’s a stark difference from where they were at the start of September, coasting into the postseason, capping a three-month stretch of being one of the majors’ best teams. Now their short-term future is much more fragile.
And they want their manager back as soon as possible.
“He’s feeling much better, and the doctor said that as soon as he is good to travel he can rejoin us,” Rizzo noted. "And once he does rejoin us, he will be full-go, no limitations, 100 percent, hopefully for a long time. For the rest of this season, for a long time.”