Rainey (0-1) allowed two hits -- including the game-winning two-run homer -- and a walk across one inning to take the loss in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader against Atlanta. It was a rough 2021 debut for the right-hander, as Rainey needed 28 pitches, the worst of which was a middle fastball that pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval drove over the fence. Rainey's average fastball velocity Wednesday was 95 mph -- a decrease from 97.7 mph in 2019 and 96.6 last season. He consistently touched 100 mph with his heater in the 2019 postseason, and as his primary pitch, it must improve considerably if he's to keep a high-leverage role in Washington's bullpen.
Rainey (collarbone) is scheduled to pitch during Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Mets, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports. The 28-year-old has yet to see game action in spring training due to a minor muscle strain near his right collarbone, but he's set to take the mound during Sunday's contest. Rainey completed a couple simulated games throughout the past week, and he should have enough time to get fully ramped up for Opening Day.
Rainey (collarbone) threw 22 pitches in a simulated game Thursday, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports. Rainey has yet to make his Grapefruit League debut this spring as he works through a muscle strain near his right collarbone. He continues to progress in his recovery, however, and he still has time to make the Opening Day roster. Rainey flashed high-leverage upside last year, striking out an incredible 42.7 percent of opposing batters en route to a 2.66 ERA, making him one of the top candidates for saves should Brad Hand struggle or get injured.
Rainey (collarbone) could pitch in a game this weekend, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports. He will throw another simulated game Thursday, and if that goes well, Rainey will pitch in an exhibition game this weekend. He still has time to get ready for Opening Day if he can avoid setbacks.
Rainey (collarbone) tossed a live batting practice session Sunday, Pete Kerzel of MASNSports.com reports. After experiencing no issues with his collarbone coming out of his bullpen sessions in recent days, Rainey was cleared to take the next step forward in the recovery process by facing hitters. The Nationals have yet to pinpoint a target date for Rainey to make his Grapefruit League debut, but his activity Sunday is certainly a step in the right direction. Rainey was arguably the Nationals' top reliever in 2020, finishing the abbreviated campaign with a 2.66 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 20.1 innings.
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