Alu among four position players in latest round of cuts

martinez w ipad dugout

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Nationals made their second round of spring cuts this afternoon, removing four position players from big league camp and bringing a bit more clarity to their options for the final two spots on their Opening Day bench.

Two of the four players cut are on the organization’s 40-man roster and were optioned to the minors: infielder Jake Alu (Triple-A Rochester) and outfielder Jeremy De La Rosa (Double-A Harrisburg). The other two were re-assigned to minor league camp: outfielders Yadiel Hernandez and Travis Blankenhorn.

Alu was perhaps the only surprising name on today’s list because the versatile 25-year-old appeared to be a candidate for a utility job on the Opening Day roster. The Nats, though, believe he’ll be better served getting more regular at-bats in minor league games the rest of the spring, rotating among multiple positions in the field.

“It was tough,” manager Davey Martinez said. “The reality is, we want to get him to play every day. He’s going to end up playing multiple positions. Get him comfortable playing some third, some second and even some left field. But just let him get as many at-bats as possible.”

Alu, a 24th round pick in the 2019 draft, turned heads in the organization last season when he racked up 40 doubles, 20 homers, 81 RBIs and an .871 OPS in 132 games split between Harrisburg and Rochester. Primarily a third baseman, the 5-foot-10 left-handed hitter has been attempting to master other positions in hopes of setting himself up for a career as a big league utilityman.

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