Davey Martinez talked before last night’s series opener in Atlanta about the Washington Nationals’ decision to call top infield prospect Luis García up in the aftermath of Starlin Castro’s broken wrist.
García, 20, was on the club’s taxi squad for the current road trip, and as Martinez explained, they thought he was ready for the challenge of playing in the majors.
“I’ve seen him for two years now and he’s matured a lot,” Martinez told reporters.
“Very good player. Unbelievable middle infielder. Handles the bat well. So he’s doing well. We thought he was ready for the jump, and he got to play his first game, got a hit right away, got another hit, so I explained to him, ‘Hey, just play defense. Play good defense. Hits will come and go,’ I said, ‘Just play good defense, have good at bats, and take your walks.’
García went 2 for 8 with a double in Baltimore over the weekend, and in the series opener with the Braves he connected for his first big league home run, taking a first-pitch fastball up and in from Touki Toussaint out to right field in Truist Park for a solo blast that traveled some 410 feet from home.
“It was awesome,” Martinez said of seeing García connect on his first big league homer. “Hit his first one, big smile on his face, the boys were actually curious to see what kind of dancer he was.
“He did alright, he did alright. The kid’s a player. He loves to play the game. He goes up there and he battles, works good at bats.”
García has also shown an ability to make necessary adjustments early in his time with the big league club.
“You watch him he’s pretty smart,” his manager said.
“All you got to do is tell him once where to play and he’s got it. I mean, you don’t have to move him around, he’s going to get it, he’s going to learn, he loves being here, we love having him here. he’s got a lot of energy, he’s always cheering for his teammates, so he’s a lot of fun to be around.”
García lined out to third with the bases loaded the second time up, and K’d twice around a groundout in his final three trips to the plate.
Getting his first MLB home run was a nice moment, however, in what ended up a 7-6, walk-off loss to the Braves.
“It’s awesome,” Martinez said, though he had some advice for García too. “I told him, I said, ‘Hey, don’t let it go to your head. Remember who you are, stay in the middle of the field, and like I said, he came up and he hit a line drive to third base. That tells me a lot about him. He’s going to have a lot of success in this league.”
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE 2ND OF 3 WITH THE BRAVES:
What were you doing in 2000?— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 18, 2020
Luis García was being born.#LetTheKidsPlay // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/fnkWS7cvaY