Rookies continue to make impression
The Washington Nationals, long out of contention for a playoff berth, are getting plenty of chances to examine which prospects may be in the mix for next season and perhaps beyond, and Tuesday night's 4-1 loss to the New York Mets was no exception.
Right-hander Yunesky Maya, signed on Aug. 3 after a stellar career in Cuba, made his major league debut, giving up a three-run homer to Ike Davis in the first inning and an RBI single to pitcher Dillon Gee in the second. After that shaky start, however, Maya retired 11 of 12 batters.
Maya used a variety of breaking balls often to set up his fastball and also mixed in an effective changeup to earn at least another start in his bid to become a regular part of the rotation.
"It's way to early for that," Manager Jim Riggleman said when asked if Maya distinguished himself enough to be in the Nationals' long-term plans. "But certainly five days from now, six days from now, we'd like to get him back out there."
While Maya was trying to make headway on the mound, teammate Danny Espinosa continued to impress in his second game at Nationals Park after his first week in the major leagues. Although Espinosa went without a hit against the Mets on Tuesday night, he contributed several quality plays at second base, including starting a double play, turning another and making a slick grab late in the game.
Prior to Tuesday night, Espinosa had dazzled at the plate. In Monday's 13-3 win against the Mets, he had six RBI and two homers, including a grand slam, to cap a week in which he hit .563 with three homers and 10 RBI. That prompted Riggleman to say in jest that he didn't think Espinosa would hit that well next season.
But all joking aside, Espinosa has more than validated in September call-up from Harrisburg and figures prominently in Washington's plans for many years.
"Defense is what I'm here for," Espinosa said. "I'm here to play good defense, and that's what I go out everyday and work hard on is my defense. I enjoy being out there making plays."
FROM AROUND THE WEB
Maya struggles early, then improves late, writes csnwashington.com's Mark Zuckerman.
In the final three innings of his start, Maya looked like he could be a fixture in the rotation, according to Ben Goessling of MASN.com.
Maya's outing was a mixed bag, writes MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
September 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Danny Espinosa , Yunesky Maya | Tags: Danny Espinosa, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Yunesky Maya
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