Washington Nationals News: Yunel Escobar discusses his defense


Good evening DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily. As the Nats try to snap their four-game losing streak tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks, get caught up on the latest news and opinions with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

We start off today’s Daily with an interesting article from the Washington Post’s James Wagner discussing Nationals’ third baseman Yunel Escobar. In the article, Wagner discusses the part of Escobar’s game which we don’t hear a whole lot about—his defense.

When the Nationals acquired Escobar in the offseason, one of many concerns that fans and the media had about the infielder was his defense. Escobar had been a shortstop throughout his career and had struggled mightily at the position in recent years. His struggles at shortstop and the fact that he would be changing positions—first to second base, then to third base—for the first time in his career led many to believe that Escobar would be a liability for the Nationals in the field.

Naturally, all of those concerns were quickly forgotten when Escobar became one of the most important hitters in the Nationals’ lineup. Going into tonight’s game, Escobar is hitting .312 with six home runs and 32 RBIs. The once-criticized infielder is now a fan-favorite in D.C., and any issues he’s had on the field have been largely overshadowed by his offensive success.

Indeed, as Wagner notes in his article, people rarely talk about Escobar’s defense nowadays. Four months into the season, however, he’s actually fared much better than many thought he would. As Wagner writes in his article, the third baseman has committed just three errors—the fewest of any qualifying major lead third baseman. His range has been a limiting factor for him at the hot corner, but given the ominous predictions about his defense, it’s safe to say Escobar has exceeded expectations.

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Of course, Escobar’s value goes far beyond his glove. As we mentioned, the third baseman is one of the best hitters on the team as well. But, more importantly, Escobar has stayed mostly healthy this season and has been a major asset for the Nationals while other players, such as fellow third baseman Anthony Rendon, have been on the disabled list.

As Wagner writes in his article, Escobar’s defense continues to be a work in progress and the third baseman hopes to get better as the season goes on. It’ll be interesting to see how Escobar does the rest of the season and what position he plays next year when shortstop Ian Desmond hits free agency. One thing’s for certain, he’s been a key player for the Nationals this season and will continue to be a vital part of the roster down the stretch and, hopefully, into the postseason.

Also in today’s Daily, Jacob Emert of MLB.com gives us an update on the injured Stephen Strasburg. As Emert notes, Strasburg completed his rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse after his strong performance last night and rejoined the team in Washington today. According to Emert, the next step for Strasburg will be a bullpen session this week.

Be sure to check out both articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

Yunel Escobar on his defense

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

Before this season, Yunel Escobar had played third base in only 22 of his career 1,074 games. A series of injuries to Anthony Rendon led the Nationals to put Escobar at the hot corner, and keep him there when Rendon returned. And slowly, Escobar has grown more used to the position.

“I’m more comfortable, more relaxed,” he said in Spanish. “There are some plays that are still hard, like when to leave the ball to the shortstop or a slow roller, but I’m improving and still think I’ve got some ways to go.” Read full article here.

Strasburg returns from Triple-A rehab stint

(Jacob Emert, MLB.com)

WASHINGTON — After a successful start with Triple-A Syracuse on Monday, Stephen Strasburg returned to the Nationals on Tuesday to continue his rehab.

Strasburg has been out since July 5 with a strained left oblique.

“I felt good,” Strasburg said. “My stuff is there, just try to keep doing the same things and working on the stuff I’ve been doing. It’s going in the right direction.” Read full article here.

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