In his first game back following a 40-game stint on the Disabled List with what he revealed on Friday was a bone bruise and sprained ligaments in his wrist, Brian Goodwin got the start in center field, but Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez cautioned reporters not to read too much into the fact that Michael A. Taylor was getting a day off.
Goodwin had hit starter Mike Foltynewicz in the past, 6 for 10, double and a home run, and Taylor, 27, had appeared in all 55 games this season to that point, starting in 51, so Martinez said it was just a night off for the outfielder he considered his everyday center fielder.
“We are going to have an influx of guys,” Martinez explained, as quoted by MASN reporter Mark Zuckerman, with Goodwin back and Adam Eaton rehabbing and getting closer to his own return.
“We’ve got to figure out how we’re going to work that out. But for right now, it’s just a day off for [Taylor]. He’s going to be right back out there tomorrow.”
Taylor’s struggles at the plate have raised questions about what they’ll do when/if some of the rest of the injured, expected everyday players are back.
Over the first eight games on the current road trip, however, Taylor was showing signs of life, going 8 for 25 (.320/.414/.640), with three doubles, a triple, and a home run.
“For me, Michael’s the center fielder,” Martinez said before Friday night’s game.
“He saves us a lot of runs out there. I’ve always said I look at him as a Gold Glover. And he’s swinging the bat better.”
Taylor went 1 for 6 in Saturday afternoon’s 14-inning, 5-3 win over the Braves, but the one hit was a big one, a two-run blast in the second that accounted for two of the Nationals’ three runs in the first 13 innings of the game.
Through nine games on the ten-game road trip, Taylor is now 9 for 31 (.290/.371/.645), on a well-timed run that could help his case to retain the starting job in center once Eaton’s able to return.
There will be some tough decisions to make in the coming days, but for now, and maybe for the long-term, Taylor’s going to be out there in center.