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Washington Nationals vs St. Louis Cardinals: Grapefruit League GameThread - Aníbal Sánchez vs the Cards...

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Washington Nationals’ righty Aníbal Sánchez makes his 2019 debut in this afternoon’s Grapefruit League matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals in West Palm Beach.

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Davey Martinez told reporters early this Spring that he thought Aníbal Sánchez could have a big impact on the Washington Nationals’ pitchers in 2019. Sánchez, who turns 35 this week, signed a 2-year/$19M in late December after a 2018 campaign in Atlanta which saw him put up a 2.83 ERA, a 3.62 FIP, 42 walks (2.77 BB/9), and 135 Ks (8.89 K/9) in 136 23 innings on the mound, with a .211/.278/.359 line against in 133 2⁄3 IP as a starter.

Martinez said that the 13-year veteran had something to teach everyone on the roster, but the Latin players, in particular, could benefit from Sánchez’s example.

“He’s going to bring a lot, especially to our Latin players, our Latin pitchers, and even our Latin players in general,” Martinez explained.

“To me he’s that guy that’s going to bring everything together, it really is. Just by talking to him and his understanding of the game and what it is to be a Latin player in a sense, he’s going to be that guy. I had a conversation with him today about his changeup and some of our guys that wanted to throw a changeup and are searching for a changeup, that he’d be a good guy to talk to, and he said, ‘I’m open, I’ll talk to anybody you want.’ And it’s great to have that guy.

“And like I said, he’s a competitor. That’s what I liked about him over the years. He was really good at one point, and then he wasn’t so good ... and then he figured it out, and what I love about him is he might not have the best stuff that day, but he’s going to figure out how to get you out.”

Martinez told reporters earlier this week that he lined Kurt Suzuki up to catch his first game of the Spring with Sánchez on the mound, since the two worked so well together last year in Atlanta, with the starter putting up a 2.82 ERA and a .217/.283/.337 line against over 89 IP with Suzuki behind the plate.

Sánchez and the Nationals take on the St. Louis Cardinals today, in a game that’s available on the radio via MLB.com’s At Bat app at 1:05 PM EST from West Palm Beach, FL’s FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.