I had a nice talk with Nationals minor league first baseman Chris Marrero today as he gets ready for this season. Marrero was a busy man this past season with stops in Potomac, Harrisburg and Phoenix, spanning over 150 games.
Chris feels better this week after getting over a bout of food poisioning (possibly from some undercooked chicken) that landed him in the hospital for a night.
I talked to him about his season with Potomac and Harrisburg and Arizona winter ball:
"My number one goal was to play the whole year after the ankle and leg injuries in 2008. I played like 138 games and felt good at the end of the year. I felt like it was as good a year as it could have been. I also worked very hard on my defense at first base. Repetition is the key to getting better on defense."
You had to be pretty pleased with how you hit in Arizona: 349 BA with 3 HRs and 21 RBI in 20 games, a .542 slugging percentage:
"When I got to Arizona I was just seeing the ball well. I didn't stray from my approach at the plate. I stayed patient and got some good pitches to hit. It was quality I was facing too, it seemed everyone was throwing 95 to 96 miles per hour. It wasn't like a hot streak, I just felt good every day."
What did you learn through all those games at the plate?
"I got better at playing the game, I am getting used to playing every day. I just take one one pitch at a time. The coaches were great in Arizona. They helped me when we wanted to work out early or take extra BP, groundballs. The repetition of every day, the more games I played, I was better off."
I saw you missed some games at the end of the season right when you were hitting so well, what happened?
"I wasn't feeling good for awhile at the end of the Arizona season. I was diagnosed with tonsillitis and I had my tonsils taken out once I got back to Miami. I was miserable for a time there. I felt a lot of pain swallowing - so bad it even caused pain in my ears. I was sick for about a week. I ended up eating a lot of ice cream after the surgery, and lots of blended food and fruits. Now, my breathing is better. I am sleeping better at night and not snoring as much."
So what do you expect to happen this season?
"Obviously, my goal is to make it to the majors. You can't control when you are going to move up. You have to take it one day at a time and stay patient. I consider myself a power guy and a hit-for-average batter. I don't think about it that much. I want to be both (a power guy and hit-for-average guy), plus play good defense."
Did you play any other sports in high school?
"No, it was always baseball. I didn't play football. I also played third base in high school. We won the state championship when I was a senior. I was a teammate of Adrian Cardenas who is in the Oakland A's system (Baseball America High School Player of Year, 2006)."
Chris says he is working out every day and doing baseball activities with his brother as he gets ready for spring training. He's also trying to stay warm after Miami was hit with 40 degree weather last week. Hopefully, the weather will improve for next month in Viera!
At Natsfest January 31st, fans will have the opportunity to receive autographs and take photos with Nationals players, participate in question-and-answer sessions with Stan Kasten, Mike Rizzo, Jim Riggleman and The Washington Post columnist and Nationals Season Ticket Holder George Will, and hit in the Nationals batting cages for a $1 donation to the Nationals Dream Foundation. A behind-the-scenes look at the Nationals clubhouse will be available and fans may enter to win Nationals prizes and memorabilia. Nationals Season Ticket Holders may receive up to four complimentary tickets per account for the event and will receive an e-mail on how to claim their tickets.
2010 WINTER CARAVAN & NATSFEST
Wednesday, January 27 -Sunday, January 31
Participating Players, Manager and Front Office Staff*
Pitcher Brian Bruney January 29 - 31
Pitcher Matt Capps January 29 - 31
Pitcher Tyler Clippard January 29 - 31
First Baseman Adam Dunn January 29 - 31
Shortstop Danny Espinosa January 27 - 29
Pitcher John Lannan January 29 - 31
Outfielder Nyjer Morgan January 29 - 31
Manager Jim Riggleman January 27 - 31
Catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez January 29 - 31
Pitcher Ryan Speier January 27 - 29
Pitcher Craig Stammen January 29 - 31
Pitcher Drew Storen January 27 - 29
Outfielder Josh Willingham January 29 - 31
Third Baseman Ryan Zimmerman January 29 - 31
Moderators Nationals Television Broadcaster Rob Dibble January 27 -31
NBC's "Meet the Press" Moderator David Gregory January 30
Wednesday, January 27
11:00am - 12:00pm
Unity Health Care's Southwest Health Center, Washington, DC
Meet-and-Greet and Book Donation
1:00pm - 3:00pm
Hard Times Cafe, Arlington, VA
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Build-A-Bear Workshop, McLean, VA
Thursday, January 28
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington, DC
2:00pm - 4:00pm
USO of Metropolitan Washington Warehouse, Ft. Belvoir, VA
Care Package Assembly
Media interested in attending this event must RSVP to Lisa.Pagano@nationals.com by Tuesday,
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Potomac Nationals Pfitzer Stadium, Woodbridge, VA
Friday, January 29
1:00pm - 4:00pm
Hot Stove Luncheon, Nationals Park, Washington, DC *Ticketed Event
5:00pm - 8:00pm
Washington Capitals Game, Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Saturday, January 30
Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Atrium Visit with Patients
1:30pm - 3:30pm
Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex, Landover, MD
Press Conference and Skills Demonstration & Autograph Session
Sunday, January 3111:00am - 4:00pm
NatsFest, Nationals Park, Washington, DC
END OF CARAVAN
*Player, Manager and Front Office Schedules Subject to Change
The Nationals announced they have outrighted left handed pitcher Victor Garate to Triple-A Syracuse. Garate was acquired in the Ronnie Belliard deal last year with the Dodgers. The slot on the 40-man was needed when the team signed Matt Capps earlier this week.