Tonight at 6:05 PM ET in West Palm Beach, FL, the Washington Nationals and New York Mets meet up in Grapefruit League action in the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The rivals in the NL East will be live on the airwaves via MLB.com, with Charlie Slowes (we think) down in Florida calling the action again. Will we see (hear) Victor Robles leading off for the club in tonight’s matchup?
Manager Davey Martinez has been trying to see what the 23-year-old outfielder can bring to the top of the order this spring, and he provided an update on his thinking about the team’s experiment with Robles up top when he spoke this past Thursday afternoon.
Through seven games this spring, the Nationals’ outfielder is 4 for 16 (.250/.429/.438) with a home run, four walks, six Ks, and four stolen bases. What has his manager seen?
“I really like what he’s doing, I really do,” Davey Martinez told reporters after Thursday’s 1-1 tie with the Miami Marlins. “He’s playing the game, and I think it comes with maturity and I think it comes with what he learned last year, not being as successful as he was, trying to become the player that we feel like he can become. We always talk to him — look, he’s going to run into home runs, and he’s going to hit doubles, but for us we need him to get on base and play good defense, and he’s shown that he can do that.”
The willingness to take his walks early this spring has caught the manager’s attention.
“The walks are tremendous right now for him,” Martinez said. “He’s getting the ball in the strike zone. Today he laid down a nice bunt and got on base for us, stole bases. He’s doing well. I’m glad that he’s starting to see the game — I think for me he’s starting to see the game a little bit differently, what he brings to the table every day and what he can bring every day.”
Will we see Robles leading off when the games start to count? He’s back up there tonight.