Lane Thomas started all three games with the New York Mets in Citi Field this past weekend, the second two in center field, and Davey Martinez penciled the outfielder in atop his order again in Monday’s series finale with the Philadelphia Phillies in the nation’s capital.
It was the third straight start in center for the 26-year-old outfielder acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals at the trade deadline late last month in return for veteran lefty Jon Lester.
Thomas starting in center, of course, meant Victor Robles sitting again.
Robles is 1 for 13 in his last five games (three starts), with a .205/.266/.315 line in August and a .204/.310/.296 line overall on the year, so he’s still sorting things out, and as Martinez said, the time off is being spent working with hitting coach Kevin Long to try to get right with the bat in his hands.
“[Robles is] continuing to work on the same things,” Martinez explained. “Like I said, I want to see Lane play, and he’s swung the bat well, so I want to continue to watch him play a little bit. I know what Victor can do, believe me, and like I said before, he’s still a big part of our future, and I want to give Victor a couple days in a row to work on some stuff, but you know, he’ll be back in there soon, just another day that Lane is going to play today and play center field.”
Thomas has a .255/.356/.373 line since joining the Nationals, coming off a rough 3 for 23, three-double end to the Nationals’ road trip in Miami and New York, after he went 7 for 11 during the first stop on the trip in Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, Martinez and Co. on the Nationals’ bench are continuing to work with Robles to try to get him going on the offensive end.
“He’s working with K-Long, yeah, he’s working with K-Long. Like I said, the balls that he can hit in the strike zone, we want him to put them in play, not foul them off, and get ready to hit a little earlier, and move the ball around. Like I told him, I said, ‘Hey, for me, you’re a gap-to-gap guy, you’re a guy that needs to accept his walks.’ I led him off, I’ll continue to lead him off when he plays, but we want him to get on base and do the little things, when a bunt situation arises — I don’t want to be the dictator and tell him when to bunt, when not to bunt, I want him to see the game and let him play the game like the way he feels like he should play the game.”
In the last two seasons, Robles has not been the player he was on the way up in the system, or in 2019, when he was part of the championship roster. Is the fact that the Nationals seem to be considering their options a sign that Robles’s future in center is on shaky ground?
And who’s out there in center field today? Thomas. And according to the Nationals, they made a series of roster moves today, including optioning Robles to Triple-A Rochester...