Paolo Espino, in his second stint in the organization, after pitching at Double and Triple-A in the Washington Nationals’ system in 2014-16, made 17 starts at Triple-A Fresno in 2019, with a 5.65 ERA, 24 walks, and 93 Ks in 92 1⁄3 innings pitched for the top minor league affiliate of the World Series champs.
Espino re-signed with the Nationals this winter, and three years after he last pitched in a big league game, the 33-year-old right-hander spent the summer in Fredericksburg, VA at their Alternate Training Site, working hard and waiting for another opportunity in the majors. He’ll get that opportunity tonight in the second game of the doubleheader with the Philadelphia Phillies in D.C.
“We saw him, he’s been pitching well, he’s been stretched out, and we thought, hey, bring him up here,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said before the start of the first game with their NL East rivals this afternoon.
“For me it’s another one of those good, feel-good stories,” the manager added.
“He stuck with us in Fredericksburg, and we liked what he was doing down there, so we’ll give him an opportunity to start today.”
Martinez was asked what he thought would be a good outing for the veteran, whose last start in the big leagues took place in 2017.
“He’s a strike-thrower,” he said. “Kind of reminds me a little bit of [Aníbal] Sánchez. He’s got to throw strikes, he works both sides of the plate, he’s got a good breaking ball, so I expect him to go out there and just compete.”
How will Espino fare in his long-awaited, hard-earned return to the big leagues? We’ll find out in a little while when the second of two today in D.C. gets underway...