Davey Martinez talked in Miami over the weekend about the club’s decision to call Andrew Stevenson up from the club’s Alternate Training Site in Fredericksburg, Virginia, after right fielder Adam Eaton went on the 10-Day IL with a fractured left index finger.
“Stevenson will play right field against right-handed pitching, he’ll platoon with [Michael A. Taylor] for the rest of this year, and I just want to see him get some at bats over here.
“He deserves it. He worked really hard in Fredericksburg, kept in shape. Stevenson is a great guy, good teammate, was swinging the bat well. So I wanted to give him an opportunity.”
Stevenson went 1 for 3 with a two-run single in his first game in the majors since late July on Friday night in Marlins Park, and he was back in the lineup against another right-hander the next day.
“I liked Stevenson’s at bats yesterday,” Martinez said before the 26-year-old, 2016 2nd Round pick reached base three times in four plate appearances (HBP, 2-run single, walk), stole one base, and made a leaping catch near the wall in foul territory in right field in Marlins Park.
“He’s working good at bats,” the manager said after the game, “... but I’ve seen Stevenson now for a couple of years. He’s a guy that grows on you, man. He plays the game hard, he works good at bats, it always seems like he’s 3-2 every count.
“He’s one of those young kids that’s learning, he’s understanding how to hit with two strikes, so he’s doing a lot of good things. He made a nice play today in right field, which was nice.
“I like what he’s doing so far.”
While he waited for another opportunity after his three games in July, Stevenson was down in Fredericksburg plugging away at the Alternate Site.
“It was just about just getting at bats,” he told reporters on a post-game Zoom call following Friday’s game when asked about his time in Fredericksburg.
“You go over there and you get 4-5-sometimes-6 at bats in a day and I think that in itself will keep you ready. I think it’s a testament to the arms we have done there, we got some good quality arms down there, so to see those guys every day, it will get you ready for this.”
His goal, given a shot to play over the last week-plus, Stevenson said, is to keep grinding out at bats and doing whatever he can to help the club.
“The rest of the regular season obviously you want to win every game that you’re in, but you know, personally,” he said, “... I just want to try to be out there every day and try to help this team win and play as hard as I can.”
Though he spent the majority of his time in center and left in the majors and minors since he was drafted, Stevenson started in right the first two games after coming back up, then Martinez penciled him in as the center fielder in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader.
“I kind of want to see [Stevenson] play center field,” the third-year skipper said. “We’ve got the lefty in the second game, so I thought he’d be good playing the first game, so I want to see if he can play center field.”
“Coming up I was mostly a center fielder,” Stevenson said last week, “... and then as I started getting to the higher levels, it started to be center/left, and then I got a taste once I got to the big leagues to play some right field.
“I’d say I’m pretty comfortable — I’m comfortable at all three spots, so I wouldn’t say it really matters where I’m at.
“But just the spins are a little different, they tail a little bit different to the line. The lefty spin you’ve got to kind of know what it’s going to do, and the righty one is going to tail a little more to the line, so it’s kind of just knowing really who you have on the mound and what they’re trying to do as well.”
He went 1 for 2 with a walk in the 2-1 loss in the first game on Sunday, then he drove in a run with a pinch hit double and scored one too in the Nationals’ 15-0 win in the second game in Miami, which left him 4 for 8 with a double, two walks, and five RBIs in four games with the Marlins, and Martinez penciled him in atop the lineup for Monday’s series opener with the Philadelphia Phillies and Stevenson doubled the first time up, for a five-game hit streak, and scored one of two runs the Nationals plated in the first inning of what ended up a 5-1 win.