Shortstop Danny Espinosa was told Thursday he would have the day off after smacking a career-high three homers for Harrisburg, his manager Randy Knorr told him alongside hitting coach Troy Gingrich.
As he was leaving the office, Gingrich also told Espinosa in ‘“oh, by the way”-fashion, that he had been promoted to Triple-A Syracuse.
“I was very excited. It was definitely one of my goals this year was to make it to Syracuse.”
He immediately called his girlfriend and his parents. Then on Friday, after packing a few things, Espinosa drove four and a half hours from Harrisburg to Syracuse and played in his first Triple-A game the same night.
“In my first at bat, it was a 2-2 count against a left handed pitcher. He threw me an off speed pitch that was out of the strike zone and was called a third strike. I got back to the dugout and the guys were saying, ‘welcome to Triple-A’. But, it didn’t affect me.”
So much so, that in his fifth at-bat, Espinosa earned his first hit at the Triple-A level, a two-run homer.
“It was a right-handed reliever. I had never seen him so I had no clue what to do. The other guys told me he was throwing a lot of cutters and would try to surprise me with his four-seamer.
“:He did throw me the cutter low to start out. I told myself, ‘if he throws that to me again and it’s a little bit higher, I can handle it.”
The next pitch was a cutter up and Espinosa cranked it out of the park.
So has Espinosa thought about a September call-up to the Nats when they expand their rosters?
“I have thought about it. They haven’t told me the plan. I just want to play hard and everything else will take care of itself. If I don’t get the call up in September, it’s not the end of the world.”
On the organization wanting him to play winter ball:
“They want me to go. They asked me to play winter ball, I said ‘yes’. I will go wherever they want me to go. I will see a lot of off speed pitches. I know I can hit off speed, but I could definitely get better at it.”