Kurt Suzuki is excited to get back on the field. It’s weird. A 60-game season is different. But the veteran backstop just wants to play baseball.
“Obviously, with 60 games, it’s going to be, like they say, it’s a sprint,” Suzuki told reporters on a Zoom call last night.
“A lot of weird things can happen. Teams can go on a hot streak and make the playoffs that would normally not be in the playoffs.
“I think it makes it more exciting too, at the same time, where at 60 games, anything can happen. It’s going to be exciting for the fans. It’s going to be exciting for us to play — you’re basically playing meaningful games from Day 1, and not to say that in 162 games Day 1 is not meaningful, but with 60 games in such a condensed schedule, every game is kind of like a playoff game, you’ve got to win from the beginning, you’ve got to get going right away. You want to start off kind of hot and kind of move on, so I think it will be exciting.”
Suzuki, 36, is preparing for the start of the second year of the 2-year/$10M deal he signed with the Nationals before the 2019 campaign, and the 13-year veteran is coming off a solid .264/.324/.486, 11 double, 17 homer, 0.6 fWAR season in which he played in 85 games and made 309 regular season plate appearances, before going 3 for 30 over 10 postseason games as he battled back from a late-season injury to contribute to Washington’s World Series win.
Now he’s excited to be part of bringing baseball back, four months after it was shut down in mid-March out of concern over the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s going to be great,” Suzuki said. “I think just to be able to get back on the field knowing you’re playing in a real game with everything that’s going on, you know, we’re not oblivious to everything that’s going on. There are a lot of things that are going on here. We’re very blessed, very fortunate to be in a position to be able to go out there and play baseball.
“We think it’s a good thing for the country to be able to watch a sporting event. If we can help with what’s going on in the country that would be great. So, we’re excited man. We got our [World Series] rings last week. It all kind of sunk in when you put that ring on your finger and now you’ve got a bullseye on your back, guys are gunning for you, you’re the defending champs, you’ve got to go out there and defend the championship, and honestly, we’re excited about it.
“We feel really good where we’re at right now as a team, mentally, physically, emotionally, I think we’re all coming together at the right time, and we’re excited.”
It helps, Suzuki said, that he and Yan Gomes are back behind the plate, and Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Aníbal Sánchez, Erick Fedde, Austin Voth, and a lot of the same relievers are back, so they didn’t have to spend a lot of time in Spring Training 1.0 or 2.0 getting to know one another.
“It’s definitely great,” Suzuki said.
“If this happened last year it would have been a little tougher, going through what we went through last year, so coming into this year, we were pretty familiar with ourselves to say the least.
“Now it’s just going out there, fine-tuning some things, getting back into the game flows and rhythms and things like that, and off we go.”