clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Nationals’ catcher Pedro Severino up and hitting in 2018 debut...

Pedro Severino was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse at the end of Spring Training, but he was called back up after Matt Wieters landed on the 10-Day DL, and Sevy reached base in each of his plate appearances in Atlanta.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals’ catcher Pedro Severino entered Spring Training as the frontrunner for the backup job in the nation’s capital. Severino, 24, figured to get plenty of action too, considering General Manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Martinez’s plan to limit No. 1 backstop Matt Wieters to around 90 games after the 31-year-old tired down the stretch in his first season in D.C. in 2017.

Things changed on February 1st, however, when the Nationals signed Miguel Montero to a Minor League deal, bringing the veteran catcher in to compete for the job behind Wieters.

Montero, who’d struggled in 2017 at and behind the plate, impressed in Grapefruit League action, and when it was time to make a decision on the Opening Day roster, Severino got optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

“[Severino] is a future catcher,” Martinez explained after the decision was announced, as quoted by Washington Post beat writer Chelsea Janes.

”If one of those guys goes down, [Severino is] going to play,” Martinez added.

“[Montero] handles the staff well, the pitchers really well. And he’s always been a good, clutch hitter, and I like that. For me, it’s more about Severino and making sure … we do the right thing for him. We really value the fact he is going to be an everyday catcher for us one day.”

Before the series opener in Atlanta, Wieters was placed on the 10-Day DL with what a press release on the move described as a “mild left oblique strain”. Severino joined the Nationals in time for the first of three with the Braves, and came out swinging, singling in his first at bat, drawing a walk in his second plate appearance, and driving in a run with a single the third time up, when Wilmer Difo was walked intentionally in front of him, loading the bases before the hit put the Nats up 6-1.

Severino walked again in the seventh, then reached base for the fourth time in four plate appearances when he got hit on the hip in the top of the ninth.

“I thought he was really good, I really did. And proud of him,” Martinez said when asked about the catcher’s at bats. He also said he was impressed by Severino’s defense.

“He did a great job. My concern with him is not really his hitting, it’s catching the way he did today, and that was outstanding. If he can do that for us, that’s what we want him to do. The hitting is bonus, but we want him to call good games and catch like he did today.”

The injury Wieters suffered isn’t considered serious, but he’ll be out for a week-plus.

Will Martinez still use Montero as a backup? Will Montero and Severino split time?

“We’re just going to kind of mix and match,” Martinez told reporters before the game, as quoted by’s Jamal Collier.

“I like Miggy. I liked what he did yesterday. He’s going to get an opportunity to play. So is Sevy.”