Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Grant Paulsen back in April 2015 he was not a fan of the designated hitter, and he said then he preferred the National League style of baseball which is a now a thing of the past, since the universal DH was adopted as part of the new CBA this season.
“I hate the DH,” Rizzo said flatly back in ‘15. “I always have hated the DH. I’d hate to see the DH in the National League.”
Now that it’s here, however?
“It’s here,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies this past Wednesday.
“So deal with it. Live with it. We got a good one and we’re happy that we have [Nelson] Cruz as our primary DH, and if we didn’t have him I might have a little different opinion of it.”
Cruz was available to sign when he did in mid-March, at least in part because he waited for a decision on the universal DH in the CBA, so he could have a clear picture of his options if the NL adopted the designated hitter.
“I got a few offers before the lockout,” the 41-year-old, 18-year veteran explained in Spring Training. “But definitely I wanted to explore what was going on after the lockout, from the [standpoint] of the universal DH.”
Manager Davey Martinez has also previously stated his preference for the old NL style of ball, but he too told reporters this week he’s learning to live with it.
“For me, it doesn’t seem all that bad, because we have Nelson Cruz DH-ing for us,” Martinez said. “Which is pretty nice. But, yeah, the game is different because there’s a lot of moving parts when you play National League style, and there’s a lot of different things that you have to do.”
“It has definitely been some getting used to,” the fifth-year manager acknowledged, “even though we’ve done it, because we’ve played having to go to the other leagues, and have a DH, but to do it every day, it’s definitely different.”
Cruz was 10 for 51 (.196/.281/.255) with a home run, six walks, and 11 Ks in 13 games and 58 plate appearances going into Wednesday afternoon’s series finale with the Arizona D-backs, but he connected for a two-run home run to left after Juan Soto walked in front of him.
Cruz’s manager said he saw positive signs from the Nationals’ DH at the plate.
“The one thing I noticed today is he was getting ready really early, he was getting his foot down on time, so I mean for me it’s just a matter of time. This guy is going to hit, we know that, but once he starts doing that he’ll start driving the balls, and you’ll start seeing a lot more balls leaving the park. I mean, when he gets hot it’s a sight to see, so hopefully he’s getting there and getting there soon.”
Cruz went 0 for 3 with a walk in last night’s loss. What will he do today?