The Washington Nationals are laying out their plans for Tuesday’s split doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies, and catcher Kurt Suzuki could be back behind the plate by the second leg.

“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow; that’s a big key,” bench coach Chip Hale said Monday. “Max [Scherzer] will pitch the night game, so that will probably be the one that Kurt will catch.”

Joe Ross will start for the Nationals in the first game. If Suzuki is ready to catch again, after missing two weeks with right elbow inflammation, it makes sense for Yan Gomes or Raudy Read to catch Ross before Suzuki pairs with Scherzer. Suzuki, 35, had caught most of Scherzer’s starts this season. Gomes has done so in Suzuki’s absence, and he has started 14 of 15 games going back to Sept. 7. But this is a good chance for the Nationals to get back into their usual rhythm ahead of the postseason.

Suzuki threw from 120 feet Monday, the most he has tested his arm since the elbow pain began, and he felt good afterward. Hale watched him and gave a positive progress report.

Hale spoke with reporters before Monday’s game because Manager Dave Martinez had follow-up heart tests in the afternoon. They were scheduled and not related to any new issues, and Hale said Martinez got clean results. Martinez underwent a cardiac catheterization at the start of last week and is expected to manage the Nationals moving forward.

“Shoot, this is what you play for. You kind of leave it all on the table now, and whatever you got, you got,” Suzuki said Monday. “We’re going to go out there and see how it goes. Obviously, everybody’s tired, everybody’s getting to that finish line and keep grinding away.”

Throwing without pain is the final hurdle Suzuki has to clear. Swinging has felt fine for a little while now. He even smacked a three-run, pinch-hit double against the Miami Marlins on Saturday night. But Suzuki joked Monday that throwing shouldn’t be much of a concern because he has allowed 45 of 50 base stealers to reach safely against him this season. He knows that his bat, and handling of pitchers such as Scherzer, is why he has been so valuable.

“I know my numbers didn’t look like it, but I felt good,” Suzuki said when asked whether he had any elbow pain throughout the year. “If I can play ... I mean, I didn’t throw anybody out before. So why not? What’s the difference?”


Phillies (79-75)

Jean Segura SS

Bryce Harper RF

Scott Kingery 3B

Rhys Hoskins 1B

Jose Pirela LF

Cesar Hernandez 2B

Adam Haseley CF

Andrew Knapp C

Zach Eflin P

Nationals (85-69)

Trea Turner SS

Adam Eaton RF

Anthony Rendon 3B

Juan Soto LF

Howie Kendrick 1B

Asdrúbal Cabrera 2B

Victor Robles CF

Yan Gomes C

Patrick Corbin P