Rosario wants to help Nats' young talent while competing for roster spot

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Eddie Rosario has walked in and out of the Nationals clubhouse each of the past couple of days. Although he just arrived at the team’s spring training complex after agreeing to a minor league deal on Wednesday, he’s already busy.

He had a physical to take Thursday morning. He’s been introduced to his new teammates and coaches. He worked out with the club for the first time Thursday afternoon before the team headed to Port St. Lucie to play the Mets. And then again over the last two days.

Now he’s settled into camp, and it’s time for him to get to work trying to win a spot in the Nats outfield.

“It was a great deal,” said Rosario, via interpreter Octavio Martinez, when meeting members of the local media for the first time. “They gave me an opportunity and I feel great to be a part of this great organization and help out any way I can.”

The 31-year-old can help the team by being the player he has been over his nine-year career: The owner of a .268/.305/.460 slash line with a .766 OPS while averaging over 17 home runs and 60 RBIs a season.

“He's a threat. He can hit,” said manager Davey Martinez. “He knows how to play the game, but he plays the game the right way. The one thing I really like about him is that he runs the bases well and he plays really good defense. And like I said, he can put a jolt in the ball and help us drive in some runs. He’s a good left-handed hitter, so I'm looking forward to watching him play.”

“I'm just here to get ready,” Rosario said. “I know I'm playing a little catch-up to a lot of the guys that were already here. I'm just trying to get to their level in every aspect of the game, and just make sure I'm ready and prepared for the season. And just receive any help I can from anybody here and get ready for the season.”

Rosario already knows where he can help the Nats. While playing for the division rival Braves over the last three seasons, he noticed the budding young talent on the rebuilding Nats.

“They have a lot of young talent, a lot of good young talent,” he said. “I'm just here to help. I'm just here to help any way I can. It's a great city. I'm just here to enjoy the young talent they have and be a part of it.”

Over the course of his career, Rosario has mainly been a left fielder, with some experience at the other two outfield positions. Right now, the Nats probably have a bigger need in left than in center or right. But Rosario said he’s able to play wherever needed.

“I play three outfield (positions)” he said on his own in English. “I'm not gonna have a problem to play left field, center field or right field.”

The Nats are going to ease him into camp as he takes batting practice and participates in some outfield drills to get him ready for game action. He’ll also need to start running the bases. If all that goes well, he’ll be able to make his Grapefruit League debut with his new team soon.

“We'll get Rosario in there, probably, the first part of next week,” Martinez said. “I might actually just DH him the first game and then go from there. But he said it feels good. I watched him swing. He hit the ball well in the cage a little bit. So get him on the field, let him around a little bit and see where he's at.”

“Playing my game,” said Rosario. “I'm here to help out any way I can with the young guys. I have several years of experience at the big league level. So I think that I bring that to the table as well. But I know my game can help the team out. And I'm just here to help the team where I've been. Any way I can to help the team win is what I want to do.”

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