CJ Abrams went 1 for 4 with a K in his debut for the Washington Nationals in D.C. last night, but the 21-year-old who was acquired from the San Diego Padres in the Juan Soto/Josh Bell trade at the deadline, made a strong impression on his new manager.
“I was watching his pre-pitch, I watched the way he moves, he was good. His angles were really, really, really good, which was awesome, and he had some good swings up at the plate,” Martinez said.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun with him. I mean, he’s got, like I said, he’s got the potential to be really, really good,” the Nats’ skipper added. “And you can see that. But like I said, he loves to play, we talked a little bit about him being here, and he says so far everybody has been great, and his teammates look they like to have fun, and so it’s been good.”
What about what he saw from the new shortstop in the nation’s capital made Abrams’ love of the game obvious?
“Just his attitude,” Martinez said. “I watched the way he came out and fielded ground balls today. I didn’t get to see him hit on the field, but he did his work in the cage, and I watched his routine, really good. We talked a little bit about not chasing, about getting the ball up a little bit in the zone, especially with two strikes. I thought he did a good job of hanging in there against that lefty [Cubs’ reliever Brandon Hughes], that lefty is pretty tough on left-handed hitters, and he hung in there and hit the ball to the warning track. I thought for the first day him being here he had a good day.”
Martinez hit Abrams 7th in the lineup for his debut with the Nationals, but the fifth-year skipper said he wanted to ease him in before moving the left-handed bat up to the top of the order.
“Eventually, what I’d like to do is move him up in the lineup a little bit,” Martinez explained in his pregame presser, “but I just want him to get his feet wet, you know, so I thought about just batting him seventh today, and let’s see what he does.”
Where is Abrams hitting today? Seventh again. I mean, did you expect him to lead off on his second day with the team? And Keibert Ruiz is getting a night off with a day game tomorrow afternoon, so it will be Tres Barrera trying to guide Patrick Corbin against the Cubs...