Trea Turner reached base in each of his final three plate appearances on Sunday, after an 0 for 8 start to the 2020 campaign, with a home run, single, and ROE in what ended up a 3-2 loss to the New York Yankees.
Turner’s manager, Davey Martinez, talked after the series finale about what the Nats’ leadoff man brings to the lineup.
“We’re going to need him to do that for us a lot,” Martinez said of the three times Turner got on base, “... but he’s a complete ballplayer in my eyes. Guy can hit, can hit for power, steal bases, he’s tremendously improving at shortstop. He’s a guy that we lean on to get us going on the top of the order.”
Asdrúbal Cabrera contributed four hits to the Nationals’ cause over the course of the three-game set, going 4 for 9 with a walk, double, and a home run, and Martinez said the veteran infielder brings a lot to the team on and off the field as well.
“He loves to play the game, and he plays the game the right way,” the skipper said.
“You know what you’re going to get from Asdrúbal every day. He comes to compete. He’s an unbelievable, good switch hitter, can play third or second.
“But he comes — because he’s a smart baseball player. You talk to him, and some of the young guys talk to him. He’s a teacher. And he understands the game really well.”
Cabrera has also served as a mentor for rookie infielder Carter Kieboom, who has been dealing with a groin issue early this season, and was limited in what he could do in the series with the Yankees.
“We’re going to be very cautious with his injury,” Martinez said before Sunday’s game.
“He looked okay yesterday ... it doesn’t bother him swinging, it doesn’t bother him running straight on, it’s the lateral movement that he kind of feels a little bit. But he said he felt better yesterday, so we’re going to take it day-to-day. It was nice to see him out there at least getting some at bats yesterday, so we’ll take it day-to-day with him.”
The Nationals are also taking a day-to-day approach with Juan Soto, whose positive test for COVID-19, which followed a quarantine after contact with someone who tested positive, is giving Michael A. Taylor an opportunity to contribute. Soto needs to test negative twice (or once more, according to reporting) so that he can be cleared to return.
With Soto unavailable, Taylor started two of three games over the weekend and went 1 for 7 with a walk in the three-game set with the Yankees.
“Here’s a guy that I always said that he’s a Gold Glove outfielder,” Martinez said. “I love his defense.”
“He’s swinging the bat well during Spring Training, so he’s going to get an opportunity to play a little bit now that Soto’s not here, but he’s huge for our team.
“Especially in the 60-game season, he can come off the bench and do many different things for you.
“He can start like he’s doing the last couple days. He put together some good at bats yesterday, so he’s going to get a chance to play.”
Turner, Cabrera, and Taylor are back in there tonight for the first game of the four-game home and “home” set with the Blue Jays.