The Nationals welcomed new outfielder Nate Schierholtz on Saturday prior to their game with the Giants. Outfielder Michael A. Taylor was moved to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for Schierholtz.
Schierholtz, who played his last game for the Cubs on August 5, was thrilled to move to a winning team and is anxious to help the Nationals win games.
"For many reasons. I've got some friends here," Schierholtz said of why he likes the move to D.C. "But beyond that, obviously, it's been a winning organization for a while. For me, it's just an exciting opportunity to get back to a winning atmosphere. That's what it's all about. I've been fortunate enough to be on a couple world series teams, it's going to be fun."
Schierholtz has become one of the best pinch-hitter choices over the years and said he learned and honed the craft while with the Giants.
"That was kind of my role early on in my career, for most of my career in San Francisco," Schierholtz said. "I had a lot of veteran leaders on those teams to kind of learn from. And I picked their brains. When that's your job it's kind of like a going to war with a pitcher. You only get one shot."
Schierholtz played three games with Triple-A Syracuse after not playing in a major league game in almost three weeks.
"Obviously, I had a couple of weeks back at home which isn't ideal to any player," Schierholtz said. "I feel like at this point of the season you get back in the swing of things pretty quick."
He had 19 at-bats with the Chiefs, managing three hits, including a home run and four RBIs. He believes that was more than enough to be ready to return to the majors.
"I think so, for sure. I got enough time there I feel like to be ready," he said.
Nationals manager Matt Williams said getting a lefty bat with postseason experience and ability to play anywhere in the outfield was a nice pick up this late in the season.
"He's got some AB's under his belt," Williams said. "We've been so right-handed dominant off the bench that gives us an opportunity to have a lefty later in the game if we get there and that opportunity presents itself. He's got the ability to play all three outfield positions, experience, had a great year last year, he can run, he can throw, he's got power, all those things add up to bringing him here as quick as we can. So he's ready to go.
"Michael (Taylor) will go back and play a little bit and we'll see how that goes in September. But Nate's ready, so we'd figure we'd get him here and try to get him in a game for us and help us win."
"I love playing for obviously a winning team," Schierholtz said. "Team to me is always first. Whatever I can do here to help and whatever role I am in, I'm excited to contribute."
Schierholtz is good friends with Kevin Frandsen, they were in each other's weddings.
"I am just excited for a fresh start here and kind of put the first half behind me and start in a winning environment," Schierholtz said. "I feel like it's a positive place here already the first day. I'm looking forward to it."
Williams said you can never discount playoff experience from a player like Schierholtz. His lefty bat will be critical late in games against right-handed closers.
"It's important because he's been there," Williams said. "And he's also been there from the opposite side of the plate than we've had in the last couple of weeks. So, it just helps balance our bench if he's on it. It helps give us an opportunity to play him in the outfield as well in any of the three positions. Just helps our team. With the loss of (Nate) McLouth, he certainly helps fill that void. We're glad to have him."