With the trade that sent Daniel Murphy to the Chicago Cubs yesterday, Wilmer Difo is going to get an opportunity to play second base on an everyday basis.
In 78 games and 302 plate appearances as a starter this season, the 26-year-old infielder has put up a .250/.306/.362 line with nine doubles, five triples, and four home runs.
Davey Martinez talked before last night’s game, (in which Difo went 1 for 4 with the second of back-to-back home runs in the sixth, for what was the eventual winning run), about the chance Difo will get over the next six weeks.
Losing Murphy (and Matt Adams, who went to the St. Louis Cardinals) was tough, but there are games to play, the first-year skipper said.
“It was tough,” Martinez told reporters. “We’re losing two consummate professionals, guys I got to know personally. It’s tough. Moving forward, Difo gets a chance to play some second base, and, as you know, Difo has got a lot of energy, so I’m excited about that, but these guys were a big part of our team, so it hurts when you lose guys like that.”
“At the beginning [Difo] played quite a bit and did well,” Martinez added. “So you know, I want him to just go play baseball like he’s capable of playing and bring that energy every day.”
Difo said he is ready for the challenge, though not necessarily happy about the way that he got it.
“Obviously it seems like that door is open for me to take the opportunity and hopefully run with it,” Difo told reporters after last night’s game, “... and play as best as I can.
“But at the same time, I’m happy about that, but at the same time I’m sad a little bit and sad that one of our good teammates is leaving. [Murphy] was a great teammate, I got along with him great, so a little sad about that.”
Difo was asked if he has something to prove or show the Nationals over the next few weeks.
“I don’t think I have to show them anything,” he said. “They know what I can do. Just stay with my same work ethic, keep working hard, doing my job, going out there every day and performing and helping the team win any way I can, but more than anything just keep working hard and staying positive.”