If you’ve been paying attention to what manager Davey Martinez has been saying early this spring, it probably did not surprise you too much when the Washington Nationals optioned 21-year-old infielder Luis García to Triple-A Rochester this afternoon.
García debuted as a 20-year-old in 2020’s 60-game COVID campaign out of necessity when an injury and a limited roster created an opportunity, then more injury and roster issues in 2021 opened up more opportunities for the prospect, who was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.3M in 2016.
García put up a .242/.275/.411 line with 18 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 11 walks, and 43 Ks in 70 games and 247 plate appearances in the majors in 2021, after putting up a solid .276/.302/.366 line, six doubles, two homers, five walks, and 29 Ks up in 40 games and 139 PAs in 2020.
But as Martinez explained from West Palm Beach early in Spring Training this year, the club called him up out of necessity the last two years, though it might not have been ideal for a young infielder like García considering where he was in his development.
“Absolutely,” Martinez told reporters. “We were shorthanded, and he’s one of our young prospects.
“Look, and I tell him all the time, ‘You’re going to play in the big leagues every day, but there’s little things we want you to do.’
“And he understands that, but he’s gotten better. Last year — he’s had these little nagging injuries throughout, you know, so for me, we want to get him going, and if he’s doing well here, this could be a different conversation at the end of spring.
“But it’s a short spring, so we want to make sure that we get him going and that when he’s here, he’s doing everything correctly.”
“We’ve got to really understand that Luis is still very, very young,” Martinez added.
“He’s learned a lot, and he’s been learning, he’s been maturing. He’s going to get an opportunity.”
Martinez wanted to see García at short in this abbreviated Spring Training, after he played predominantly at second in the majors in the last two seasons, and he will likely play each position at Triple-A as he waits for the next opportunity at the big league level.
But for now, the team seems comfortable going forward with Alcides Escobar at shortstop, with veteran César Hernández at second base, and Ehire Adrianza as a super-utility bench player in D.C. to start the 2022 campaign, with García getting everyday at-bats and reps in the infield up in Rochester, NY.
NATIONALS’ LATEST ROSTER MOVES:
Optioned to Triple-A:
RHP Gerardo Carrillo
INF Lucius Fox
INF Luis García
Re-assigned to Minor League camp:
RHP Reed Garrett
RHP Erasmo Ramirez
INF Jake Noll
C Taylor Gushue
INF Richard Ureña
INF Adrián Sanchez