Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa hit for the cycle Tuesday for his team Leones de Ponce in Puerto Rico.
“It was really exciting and a lot of fun,” says Espinosa.
“It was funny because my Uncle Bob always use to joke with me to call him when I hit for the cycle. So I was thinking about him after the game and I gave him a call. He just started laughing.”
Espinosa hit a home run, drew a walk, smacked a triple, then a double and finished off the cycle with a single. It was the first time Espinosa had hit for the cycle since high school. He said a teammate accomplished the feat at Long Beach State, but he was never able to do it until now.
His first hit of the night was a home run.
“I got down 1-2 in the count,” recollects Espinosa. “The pitcher left a two-seamer up in the zone and I pulled it out.”
He walked in his second at-bat. Then, he hit a triple in his third chance at the plate.
“It was a 3-1 count and I hit a line drive to left field,” says Espinosa. “The left fielder came in on it and dove for the ball and did not get it. The fields are big here so the ball rolled for awhile to the wall. I ended up with a stand up triple.”
Next, he connected with a double. “There was one out and a runner on third base,” says Espinosa. “I think it was a 1-2 count again. I hit the ball off the end of the bat. The first and second basemen dove for it. It hit the second baseman’s glove and rolled into the outfield so I took second.”
Throughout the pursuit of the cycle, Espinosa says his teammates didn’t talk about what was happening. It was almost similar to the way you would not talk to a pitcher if he was close on a no-hitter.
Finally, Espinosa got a single in his final at-bat to complete the “reverse” cycle.
“There was one guy on,” says Espinosa. “the first pitch was a changeup. I got it through the six hole for a base hit.”
Espinosa says they announced it over the public address system that he had hit for the cycle and the small crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Espinosa went 4-for-4 with he thinks 3 or 4 RBI.
Espinosa has five games left in Puerto Rico before heading back to California.
“It has been a very good experience,” says Espinosa.
“It has sometimes been tough to adjust to the lighting and the umpires, but I have had a great time. The people of Puerto Rico have embraced us and been so welcoming.”
Espinosa says his month in Washington was very important to his development as he prepares to make the team out of spring training 2011.
“That month helped me a lot,” says Espinosa. “I will be better prepared for next season because of all the extra at-bats I got against N.L. East pitching. I have seen the stuff these pitchers have and that will be big for me. I am excited to get to February.”