Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Martinez insisted, while baseball fans in the nation’s capital clamored for Luis García to be called up to the majors, that they were concerned only with the 22-year-old shortstop’s growth as a defender at short, rather than his service time or any other considerations.
“Luis García is one of our prime prospects,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C’.s Sports Junkies hours before the infielder was officially called up this week.
“We want to make sure he’s ready to get here,” the GM added. “We think he’s very, very close, but don’t forget, he’s 22 years old. He’d be a college senior right now if he was draft eligible, so this guy’s got a bright future in front of him. My job is to make sure that he’s completely ready when he comes.”
“He’s very, very close, and you’ll be seeing him in the very near future,” Rizzo concluded.
Alcides Escobar’s right hamstring injury in New York necessitated a move, and as Martinez explained, García was the best option at short in the organization, so the infielder came back up after posting an impressive .314/.368/.531 line with six doubles, four triples, eight home runs, 16 walks, and 34 Ks in 42 games and 193 plate appearances for the club’s top minor league affiliate.
“Luis has been playing well, and he’s hitting well, so he’s the next, best available guy we’ve got, so we’re going to give him an opportunity,” Martinez said before the series finale in Citi Field on Wednesday.
“And I talked to him today, and he’s going to play every day, and I’m going to bat him — I told him, ‘Some days I’ll bat you seventh, some days I’ll bat you eighth, depending on what — but you’re going to play shortstop every day, left-handed, right-handed, you’re going to get an opportunity to play.’ So we’ll see how he does.”
García went 1 for 4 with a single and a relatively clean game defensively in his 2022 debut.
“We’re going to keep an eye on him,” Martinez said before Thursday night’s series opener in Cincinnati.
”But more so we’ve got to remember that he’s still young, and he’s still developing, but he started off really well in Rochester this year, so he’s going to get an opportunity to play every day. As I talked before, when he comes up it’s for him to play shortstop every day, and he’s going to get an opportunity to do that now.”
Garcìa went 0 for 3 with a K in the 8-1 loss to the Reds on Thursday, and he threw one away on a fairly routine play from deep in the hole at short, providing another example of where there is still room for growth in his game.
“We’ll talk to him again,” Martinez said after the first of four in Great American Ball Park. “I talked to him in-between innings about the throwing stuff, but some of the balls, he’s got to anticipate the ball being hit to him all the time, setting his feet, and we’re going to talk to him about it, we know he struggles with diving after balls, he likes to catch balls always on his knees, so [Bench and Infield Coach Tim Bogar] and [Third Base Coach Gary DiSarcina] are going to talk to him tomorrow about just when he has to dive, how to do it, and teach him. And his angles, we’ve got to talk about his angles as well at shortstop, but you know what, he’s doing fine. He’s only been here a couple days, so he’s doing fine, he’s another one that when he was going good at Triple-A he was swinging at strikes, now he’s expanding a little bit, but he just got here, but we’ll talk to him about staying in the strike zone as well.”
García threw one away on another routine play in last night’s win, his second error in three games, and he went 1 for 4 with his first double in the majors this year in the Nationals’ 8-5 win over the Reds.