VIERA, Fla. - It’s been four days since Jose Lobaton was acquired by the Nationals in a trade with the Rays, and in that time, the Nats’ backup catcher has slowly started to feel more and more comfortable.
Except, it appears, when it comes to knowing the names of the pitchers he’s been working with.
“I like, after a bullpen, talk to them a little bit,” Lobaton said after today’s workout. “And I know a couple guys, the names. The next day, I’m like, ‘I know that guy. I know I (caught) that guy. But I don’t know the name.’ It’s gonna take me a little bit to handle that. But it’s been fun. It’s been good.”
For Lobaton, that’s actually the part of the acclimation process to a new team that has been toughest. He already knew fellow Venezuelan catcher Wilson Ramos and has befriended the other Latino catchers in the same area of the clubhouse - Jhonaton Solano and Sandy Leon. He laughs and jokes with that group and feels comfortable asking them for help learning about the pitchers’ repertoires.
The names, however, that’s been something he’s struggled with, although he can laugh about it when the topic is brought up by reporters.
“A lot of new faces for me that I’ve just seen on maybe TV,” Lobaton said.
Lobaton has been firing lots of questions at Ramos, Solano and Leon, and he’s been picking up information on the Nats’ pitchers even when he isn’t on the receiving end of one of their bullpen sessions.
“Sometimes, just seeing,” Lobaton said. “I see the pitchers throwing and you’re gonna see the movement and what they have. I just like to ask more, ‘What’s the second pitch?’ The best pitch - OK, the two-seam, the fastball. (What’s) the second pitch? So I have that in mind, ‘Oh, the second pitch is the curveball.’ I don’t want to call a changeup. I want to call a curveball. That’s what I’m trying to do right now, and just wait for the games.”
Without further ado, here is your photo gallery from the third day of workouts: