Washington Nationals News: Dusty Baker wants Nats to battle at the plate, put balls in play
Today’s District Daily features stories on Dusty Baker‘s hopes for the Washington Nationals’ offense and the possibility of the team playing in Cuba one day.
Good evening DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily. Get caught up on the latest Nats news and opinions with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.
In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson discusses what manager Dusty Baker wants to see from the Nationals’ offense this season. As Ladson notes, Baker wants hitters to battle at the plate and cut down on strikeouts.
Baker wants hitters to go deeper into counts and put balls in play. As Ladson notes, some players, like Michael Taylor, have to cut down on strikeouts at the plate for the team to see offensive success this season.
Here’s what Baker had to say about players striking out too often, via Ladson’s article:
"“Imagine if everybody had those fight ’em at-bats? That’s how you get his pitch count up,” Baker said. “During a strikeout, nothing can happen. You better be hitting a whole bunch of home runs to me. Then you can take strikeouts.”"
Also in today’s Daily, the Washington Post’s James Wagner writes about the Nationals’ hopes to one day play an exhibition game in Cuba.
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.
Baker wants hitters to battle, put ball in play
VIERA, Fla. — Nationals manager Dusty Baker made it clear Saturday that he is not a fan of position players striking out often. If a player is known to strike out often, Baker said, he better hit a lot of home runs. Baker would like to see hitters focus on putting the ball in play.
“It wouldn’t be hard to sell if they are convinced they are not helping the team by striking out,” Baker said on a day when the Nationals’ game against the Mets was cancelled due to rain.
The best at-bat Baker saw this spring came from Astros first baseman A.J. Reed on March 8. In the first inning against Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, Reed fouled off 15 pitches before hitting into a forceout. Although Scherzer was able to get the out, his pitch count was up and he was out of the game after two innings. The goal that day was to pitch three innings. Read full article here.
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With Obama and MLB in Cuba, Dusty Baker wants the Nationals to visit one day
(James Wagner, Washington Post)
LAKELAND, Fla. — Dusty Baker was watching television Sunday morning and saw that President Obama would be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since 1928 this week. And he also saw that the Tampa Bay Rays would be the first Major League Baseball team to visit since 1999 and play Tuesday against the Cuban national team. Remembering back to his own visit to Cuba nearly five years ago, Baker was envious.
“I wish it was us,” Baker said. “I ain’t lying.”
The Nationals have expressed interest to MLB about playing the Cuban national team, while the country’s baseball commissioner has openly welcomed the Nationals to play in Havana next spring. MLB used a lottery to decide which team would go to Cuba this year — and likely next — to keep the process fair, but Baker feels the baseball team in the nation’s capital would carry extra significance, especially with thawing relations between the two countries. Read full article here.