It’s the old saying that it is said in sports, but in life as well. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. When you look at spring training, this could go for non-roster invitees who are trying to show the general manager that brought them to camp that they were worth taking a chance on. So far, some of the Nationals players that Mike Rizzo has brought in have put up good spring numbers like Dan Uggla and Heath Bell. However, there is another player that has been playing every day for nearly a week that continues to have success in the lineup.
Clint Robinson was one of the players that were signed by the Washington Nationals as a non-roster invitee back in December. He only has three games of major league experience in his career, but Robinson has had a great month of March.
In 20 at-bats, he has nine hits with one home run and five RBI’s. We have already seen some of the roster cuts happen and throughout that early process, Matt Williams has been playing Robinson in six straight games and seven of the last eight.
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On Monday, Robinson came up with the game-winning triple in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Houston Astros. He has recorded a hit in each of the last three games, all of which were extra-base hits. Robinson also had a grand slam in Thursday’s 11-9 loss to the New York Mets.
While Kevin Frandsen can be a backup at any position on the infield, the interesting position battle in camp could be for that backup spot at first base behind Ryan Zimmerman. Tyler Moore could get that role as well, but he could be in left field to start the season depending on the status of Jayson Werth.
The battle for one of the final spots could come down to Robinson and another non-roster invitee Mike Carp. Carp has had two multi-hit games in his last four, including two singles Monday, but has yet to record an extra-base hit. That being said, he still has the most major league experience out of the two.
Now, Matt Williams has used Robinson at different positions this spring. He had a tough time in right field on Saturday against the New York Mets, but it seems that Williams sees the 30-year old as more of an outfielder, a position that Robinson has only had 11 career games in the minor leagues:
“I know he has done a lot of work both at first base and left field as well. He is more of a right fielder. That’s where he is most comfortable. He’s an athlete. He is a big man. With that brings some power.” (h/t William Ladson, MLB.com)
Carp was at the designated hitter spot on Monday and still has a chance to make the squad, but right now, I would say Robinson has the edge because he gives the Nationals the power off the bench and is starting to get those extra-base hits. He did hit .312 in triple-A last year with the Dodgers, so maybe that success from last season is carrying over into a potential spot on the Opening Day roster.