"You know when you can play," Dusty Baker said this week, as quoted by ESPN.com's Eddie Matz. He was talking about Trea Turner.
Baker was asked about telling the top infield prospect in the organization that the Nationals decided to option the 22-year-old shortstop to Triple-A Syracuse, where Turner will start his third season of professional baseball.
"He had a good attitude about it," Baker added.
He couldn't tell reporters everything he told Turner, Baker said, in part because he didn't remember everything he told the 2014 San Diego Padres' 1st Round pick when he broke the news to him.
Turner debuted in the majors late in 2015, after the completion of the three-team trade with Tampa Bay and San Diego that brought him to Nationals from the Padres, and went 9 for 39 (.231/.326/.385) with a double, a triple, one home run and seven stolen bases in seven attempts over 23 games in Grapefruit League action.
Turner was tasked with improving his, "arm strength, defense and presence," Washington Post writer James Wagner wrote earlier this week.
Baker explained that in addition to the defensive work, he wanted to see the young shortstop to, "be more assertive," and be, "more of a leader" with "more energy on the field.":
"Because a shortstop’s gotta have energy. Gives everybody else energy. Between the catcher and the shortstop, those are the leaders on the field."
Danny Espinosa will start the season at short for the Nationals. How long will the position he's finally inherited from Ian Desmond be his?
Will Turner be up on or near June 1st, as soon as the Nats are guaranteed an extra year of team control? Will Espi's play hasten or delay Turner's rise?
At the end of his appearance with 106.7 the FAN in D.C's The Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo was asked when fans in the nation's capital could expect to see Turner back in the majors?
"Trea Turner is an exciting player that I think we learned a little bit more about this Spring Training," Rizzo said.
"I think that we always thought that he was going to be a really good everyday Major League shortstop. I think he has a chance to be an impact Major League player.
"He’s got a dynamic tool and skill set that not many people have at his position. He has game-changing speed, a guy that can handle the bat, play shortstop and steal a whole bunch of bases. But it’s not only that, the guy has to put the bat on the ball and run like hell and he’s a guy who can do that."
In 185 games and 821 minor league plate appearances, Turner has put up a .332/.384/.454 line with 40 doubles, nine triples, 13 home runs and 52 steals (in 62 attempts).
After an 0 for 9 start to his major league career last summer, Turner went 8 for 30 (.267/.353/.400) over the final 19 games of his 2015 campaign, repeating a pattern of slow starts at each new level he's played at thus far, though in that case he was also adjusting to pinch hitting for the first time.
He's close to MLB ready if he's not already, but will have to wait a little longer.
"I think that his future's bright," Rizzo told The Sports Junkies.
"When we sent him out, we explained to him what he needs to do in Triple-A and he realized, we realized and everybody realized that it’s just a matter of when, not if, he’s going to get to the big leagues and be an impact type of player for us. I can’t wait to see him up here.
"The situation will dictate when he comes up, but when he comes up here, suffice it to say, he’s going to be prepared and ready to be a big league player and I don’t anticipate him going back to the minor leagues once he gets here."