LOS ANGELES - The Nationals added veteran outfielder Gerardo Parra to their 25-man roster Thursday to look for a spark as the team attempts to dig its way out of a recent slump. Nats manager Davey Martinez said Parra brings a lot of versatility to the field, and swings the bat very well against right-handers.
“He’s a veteran outfielder that can play all three outfield positions, also plays a little bit of first base,” Martinez said. “He gives us another left-handed bat. He’ll play against some right-handed pitching. He’s a great guy to have. He’s a great clubhouse guy. I’ve known him for a long time. He just gives us another veteran presence.”
The club placed outfielder Andrew Stevenson on the 10-day injured list and made room for Parra on the 40-man roster by designating pitcher Jimmy Cordero for assignment. Martinez sat down with Parra and explained how they envisioned using the veteran.
“I had a good talk with him. He knows. He comes in here, he’s just another outfielder,” Martinez said. “He hits righties really, really well. We’re going to get him in against some right-handed pitching. He’s also another back up first baseman for us if we need him. But I like his style, I like the way he plays. He plays real hard. He knows how to play the game.”
Parra, 32, hit .198 in 30 games with the Giants after playing 142 games and hitting .284 for the Rockies in 2018. San Francisco released him last Friday and the Nats quickly signed him to a one-year contract.
“I just want to say ‘thank you,’ and say ‘thank you’ to the fans as well,” said Parra, who will wear jersey No. 88. “Guys giving me a hug today. I’m happy. I’m happy to be here, yeah 100 percent. I come here and try to help the team to try to win, to try to make the playoffs. Just now try to relax. Basically, (you) realize it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish the season. We got a great team. We got a good opportunity. The division is strong. Just play hard, play happy and see what happens.”
Parra just wants to help the Nats get going again and is not worried about what role he will play or what position he’ll play.
“I’m here. Whatever you demand from me, I’m here,” Parra said. “I ready for everything. He try to put me in pitching or whatever, I’m ready for that. I want to help my team in every situation: outfield, pinch-hitting, whatever. I’m here for winning.”
Parra said what happened to him in San Francisco at the plate was unusual. His career average is .277 in 11 seasons, so .198 was an aberration.
“That’s baseball. I play a lot of baseball, that’s the first year I started like that,” Parra said. “But that’s over for me. This is a new opportunity. Regardless, I’m happy.”
Martinez said Juan Soto is on track for a Saturday return from the injured list. The skipper said Parra will stay even when Soto is back in the lineup. So that means the Nats will have to make a difficult decision at that time that would likely involve Michael A. Taylor, Adrián Sanchez or a reliever.
“Yeah, most definitely,” Martinez said of Soto’s Saturday return. “He took swings yesterday in the cage. He took 25 swings off the tee, 25 soft tosses, which is his routine. He said he felt good. He’s going to go out today and maybe take some batting practice, and we’ll see where he’s at after the game.”
Shortstop Trea Turner went through full batting practice, ran the bases and took grounders at shortstop and threw the ball. He has been on the injured list since April 3 and has missed 32 games.
Update: The Nats jumped on Dodgers left-handed starter Rich Hill in the first. Adam Eaton led off with a double and Anthony Rendon was hit by pitch. The pair pulled off a double steal. Howie Kendrick crushed a 2-2 offering over the left field wall for his sixth homer of the season. The three-run shot was just the adrenalin dose the Nats desperately needed after getting swept out of Milwaukee.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin walked one but struck out two in the bottom of the first.
After one frame, the Nats lead the Dodgers 3-0.
Update II: Corbin has allowed no hits and no runs through three with six strikeouts. Rendon and Victor Robles have made outstanding plays behind him to prevent base hits.
After three innings, the Nats lead the Dodgers 3-0.
Update III: Los Angeles challenged Corbin’s advantage in the fourth by loading the bases on walks to Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager and a base hit by David Freese. With one out, Chris Taylor grounded to Anthony Rendon who started a huge inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Hill lasted five innings, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks, one hit-by-pitch and five strikeouts. He threw 96 pitches, 59 for strikes.
After five, the Nats lead 3-0.
Update IV: The Nats added two runs in the eighth. Robles reached first base on an error. Rendon doubled. Kendrick singled Robles home. A Yan Gomes fielder’s choice scored Rendon.
Two huge insurance runs for the Nats and they lead 5-0 mid-eighth.
Update V: Corbin finished seven innings, allowing no runs on three hits with one hit batter, four walks and eight strikeouts. he threw 107 pitches, 65 for strikes.
Update VI: Nats added another run in the ninth thanks two back-to-back errors by the Dodgers and a walk to Eaton. Rendon’s fielder’s choice scored Adrián Sanchez.
Mid-ninth, the Nats lead the Dodgers 6-0.
Update VII: Doolittle recorded four outs to end the game. Nats snap a four-game skid and end the Dodgers’ 10-game home winning streak.
Final score: the Nats 6, the Dodgers 0.