Manager Davey Martinez moved Juan Soto to right field for the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Phillies and it worked out well.
“Just wanted to throw him out there,” Martinez said during today’s pregame Zoom video session. “I talked about it to him for quite a while. The short stint he was in the minor leagues coming up, that’s where he played, right field. He feels comfortable over there. So, we thought we give him a shot to play over there. He’s going to play over there again today and see what it looks like.
Martinez said he wanted to put Soto in right field to mix things up, but also the move gives the Nationals options for left field going forward. And Soto did hit a three-run homer in the game, his first roundtripper since Aug. 31.
“We will see what happens in the future,” Martinez said. “Honestly, it’s part of keeping him engaged. We talked about it. He was all excited about it. He went out there yesterday, second game, and played and he was having a lot of fun. I told him before the game, ‘You know, right fielders hit for power.’ and he goes, ‘OK, I got you.’ Ends up hitting a three-run homer, which is kind of nice. Trying to make it fun for him.”
So could the Nats be shopping for a left fielder in the offseason?
“It could be a possibility,” Martinez smiled. “Use your imagination.”
Playing left field in yesterday’s second game was Andrew Stevenson. With Adam Eaton out for the season, Stevenson will play a lot in the outfield when the club faces right-handers. And as the leadoff man recently, Stevenson has become a doubles machine.
“He’s doing fantastic,” Martinez said. “We love Stevenson. We really do. We feel like he’s going to be a part of our future. Right now he’s kind of a role-player. He faces righties, but he has done well. I actually like him in left field and he likes playing left field.
“I moved him to the leadoff spot because here’s a guy that really attacks the fastball and he hits the fastball well. I thought, lead him off and he will get some fastballs to hit. He’s proven that correct. He’s hitting the ball really well. He’s getting on base for us. He’s going to play up there as long as there is a right-handed pitcher, he will lead off for us.”
Stevenson has at least one base hit in all seven games he has played in September, batting .400 (8-for-20) with three doubles, one triple and seven RBIs. His on-base percentage is .478.