Alcides will be the Nationals’ starting SS

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Nationals have infield depth they can explore in spring training, but manager Dave Martinez already has an idea of ​​who will be in charge at shortstop.

“Alcides [Escobar] he’s going to play,” Martinez said. “He’s going to get the most playing time.”

Escobar, who was acquired from the Royals in July, became the Nationals’ starting shortstop in the second half of 2021. Although he hadn’t played in the majors since 2018, the 35-year-old Venezuelan started at shortstop. in 58 games. He also hit .288 with 28 RBIs and 53 runs scored. Washington renewed with Escobar for one year in October.

“Alcides did well last year, and he helped our team a lot,” Martinez said. “He’s a pro, as you all know, he’s won Gold Gloves, and he keeps himself in good shape. I’m watching him catch ground balls, and you’d think he’s 25 years old. He amuses us a lot”.

With Escobar scheduled for shortstop and the acquisition of free-agent infielder Cesar Hernandez at second base, Luis Garcia would be out of the starting lineup. The 21-year-old infielder played 55 games at second base and seven at shortstop in 2021.

This spring, Martinez would like to see Garcia work on his shooting, footwork and limiting mental errors. He has also told Garcia that, “You’re going to play in the big leagues every day, but there are a lot of little things we want you to do.” But even if Garcia doesn’t have a big-team starting role to start the season, he could start the season at Triple-A so he can play consistently.

“I appreciate Alcides — he’s a veteran guy — and I appreciate Luis, too,” Martinez said. “I want to make sure that Luis, when he is in the Major Leagues, that it is to stay. I don’t want him sharing game time; I want him to play every day. He did a lot better last year against left-handed pitching, which was a good thing, so I want to see him do the little things consistently on a daily basis.”

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Alcides will be the Nationals’ starting SS