Nationals minor-league pitcher Rafael Martin has yet to be cut from major-league camp but remains a longshot to make the Opening Day roster, the Washington Post reports.
"I feel like I can contribute to this team," Martin said. "I know we’re stacked and stuff. But I could see myself getting an opportunity during the season some time. For me, it’s just staying healthy because the last few years of surgery. … I just take this (spring) for what it is: Take full advantage and give it all that I’ve got."
Martin has been turning heads with his slider, which took off after he starting holding in his grip like a cut fastball.
"It got better spin and it was harder," Martin said. "At first it was 83-85 (mph). Now it’s like 80-82. It has really good spin. That’s pretty much my go-to pitch."
"It looks like just like his fastball," minor-league pitching coodinator Paul Menhart said. "It makes it hard to detect."
Martin has allowed one earned run in five innings this spring.