How did Victor Robles spend his time during the two-week quarantine period, after he came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?
He did some weight training, with equipment the club dropped off at his home, then ran as much as he could in the parking lot complex, and waited to get clearance to start working out at Nationals Park. But when he wasn’t training in any way he could?
“Listened to a lot of music and watched a lot of Netflix,” Robles said through an interpreter, Octavio Martinez, when he spoke to reporters after his, Robles’s, first official workout with the team.
“I feel real good,” Robles said after he was done for the day. “I felt physically very good. I took some at bats, ran the bases, and I felt like I made some solid contact with my at bats, and just overall, I feel like I definitely could be ready for Opening Day.”
“He did everything today,” Manager Davey Martinez said of the paces he put the outfielder through.
“Did some outfield work this morning, took BP, ran the bases, and he got six at bats, and he looked good.”
Robles missed two-plus weeks of the three-week ramp-up to this coming Thursday’s season opener and the 60-game MLB season to follow, but he said he thinks that in spite of getting a late start, he can be ready.
“I think that I have the ability and the youth that helps me get ready quickly,” Robles said, “and I think the team brought enough things for me to work on that.
“I feel like I’m definitely going to be ready for Opening Day, if possible.”
Martinez said he was just happy to have the 23-year-old center fielder back in camp.
“Oh, it’s nice,” the Nats’ skipper said. “The beauty about Victor is he brings all this energy. He was funny today.
“He sounded like Cerrano from Major League 2. [Javy] Guerra threw him a really nice pitch, and he just looked at him and said, ‘Oh, good pitch. Good pitch.’ So we all started cracking up.
“Just to have him in camp and watch him, he’s bubbly, he’s entertaining, and he’s got that live body. It’s fun to have him around.”
Getting his timing down at the plate. Getting his legs under him. It’s going to take some time, but he thinks he’ll be able to do it.
“I definitely know that it’s a short window for me to get ready,” Robles acknowledged.
“But I think it’s all about just staying positive, mentally being prepared, and I feel like I’m there, I’m staying positive and mentally prepared, so I think I’ll be fine for Opening Day.”
His manager said on Saturday that he’s going to watch Robles closely over the next few days to see how he’s doing.
“We’ll have to see how much he can handle right now,” Martinez explained. “It’s Saturday, we open up on Thursday. He’s not going to get a whole lot of at bats.
“We’ll see how he feels. My biggest concern with him is he’s a runner. He plays really hard.
“You can’t tell him not to go out there and play at 100%, because he’s not going to listen, he’s going to do that, so we’ve got to be very careful how we handle him.”
Robles thinks he’ll be able to get ready, and he thinks the club as a whole will be prepared for the defense of their World Series championship, though they all know it’s up for grabs again this season.
“The big thing is mentally we’re going out on the field thinking as a team that we’re not the world champions,” Robles said, “... even though we know we are obviously, but we’re going out there with that mentality to win every day, 1-0 every day, and just stay hungry, so we’re going out there with the mentality that we’re not world champions and we’ve got to go out there and win.”