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Turner comfortable in debut at second base

Aug 29, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

The first start of any major leaguer’s career is going to feature its share of butterflies-in-the-stomach moments, only more so when that start comes at an unfamiliar position.

Trea Turner, though, acquitted himself well Friday night in the first start of his Nationals career, even though it came not at his natural shortstop position but on the other side of the diamond at second base.

With the Nationals reeling from a spate of injuries, Friday night’s defensive lineup featured all sorts of characters in odd places: Danny Espinosa in left field, Bryce Harper in center field and Turner at second base. The rookie only began learning the position last week while still at Class AAA Syracuse, but he has taken a crash course since.

And he hardly looked uncomfortable in the game, making several tough plays that can’t really be simulated: a grounder well to his left that required a tough throw across his body, a foul-pop way down the first-base line.

And then, the first at-bat of the game, when Dee Gordon sent a routine grounder to second, with Turner needing to hurry the throw to get the speedy Marlins leadoff man.

“Obviously, when you take groundballs [during practice], you don’t have a runner running,” he said. “So the very first one, Dee Gordon out there, you had to rush it a little bit. And the same with the popups down the line. It’s hard to recreate those, so you just have to slow it down and complete the play.”

Turner was able to do just that, impressing his teammates and coaches.

“I know from experience, when you play short your whole life and you go to second and you’ve got to catch that fly ball down the right-field line, everything spins opposite,” said shortstop Ian Desmond, who played five games at second base as a rookie in 2009 but hasn’t been back there since. “I know that play is a lot harder than he made it look, and he ran a heck of a long way. So that was good.

“And then the next one was good, too. The play he spun in the hole on the grounder, he looked great. He’s got it. I can’t wait for him to get his first hit, and I want to watch him run. He’s a fast little whipper-snapper.”

Indeed, at the plate Turner has yet to deliver. After an 0-for-3 showing Friday night, he’s now 0-for-8 overall in his first week in the majors, though he did send a hard liner to right field in the second inning that was caught by Ichiro Suzuki.

“I felt good tonight,” he said. “Some tough at-bats. Got a lot of guys throwing 95, even the starter. You just have to battle. I hit with two strikes, I think twice. I put some barrel on the ball just under a few of them, but that’s how baseball goes. … It’s not always the box score. It doesn’t always tell everything, and that’s kind of how I feel. But I feel good out there. Not worried about the 0-for-3. I was glad to play some good defense behind Max [Scherzer] and help any way I can.”

  1. micksback1 - Aug 29, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    Trea is going to be a good one, I see him as another Danny Espi in the field with some pop at the plate. As far as last nights game which i was at, MW did nothing to hurt the team. I thought Max finished strong and that bodes well for the rest of the season (what’s left of it).

    This one is on the players who only muster one run with bases loaded and zero outs, period. I am not seeing a whole lot of championship caliber character on this 2015 version of ths team. Very very disappointed and Rizzo needs to clear out some of these guys

    Bottom line and I heard this on CBS Sports radio last night and it is the best and mosr accurate synopsis of the Nats and Mets at the trade deadline. .the Mets were A plus in their moves, they acted like a franchise who believed they could make a run and with David Wright back, they have kicked ass. the Nats were an F minus and now they are paying for it. This is by far the low water mark for Rizzo, he blew it . I fear his arrogance will get in the way and this team will be stuck with MW one more season. I just hope the Nats do not implode the way the Mets did in 2011 and 2012

    • Section 222 - Aug 29, 2015 at 3:02 PM

      F-minus? That’s ridiculous. The Papelbon move was very smart. Hardly cost us anything and would have improved the bullpen tremendously if Storen continued to pitch like he did from April through July.

      I agree that MW should go if the team doesn’t come back. Which they won’t.

      • ballgrindM - Aug 29, 2015 at 5:40 PM

        F- is certainly ridiculous but it is also worth noting that there were concerns expressed by many at the time of the trade that Storen would NOT continue to pitch the way he did from April through July so it isn’t as if his struggles are completely unpredictable. Still surprising yes, but a noted risk of the Papelbon deal. As for MW, well I don’t put a lot of blame on him for good players underperforming, if anything the Zim and Werth deals make Rizzo look bad (but then again he made the Ross/Turner deal and has built us into a contender so I’m not complaining. Williams isn’t a good manager, but he’s not bad either, he gets blamed for the result rather than his often defensible thought process. He’s an average manager, and this team should be winning 95+ games with an average manager, hits on the players

  2. natsjackinfl - Aug 29, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    I’m think I may start a “Hire Ron Gardenhire ” campaign.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 29, 2015 at 11:27 AM

      What has Ron Gardenhire done that Bud Black hasn’t?

      • natsjackinfl - Aug 29, 2015 at 12:01 PM

        How about has gotten to the post season for one.

  3. micksback1 - Aug 29, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    I fear the window has closed on some in this group. 4 seasons is a pretty good sample size to determine which guys you can wina championship with and what guys are just plain underachieving losers.

    Also, the injury excuse is just that, and excuse for losers…case and point…look at the injuries the Mets had this season??? I rest my case

    • veejh - Aug 29, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      Having a healthy Rendon and his bat all season would have made a huge difference, imho.

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 29, 2015 at 12:07 PM

      4 seasons is a pretty good sample size to determine which guys you can win a championship with …

      Just to be clear – you are talking about the team that won the NL East Championship twice in the last 3 years, right?

      • npb99 - Aug 29, 2015 at 2:30 PM

        Yes, but also the team that hasn’t won a single playoff series during this window, which is quite a depressing fact.

      • Hiram Hover - Aug 29, 2015 at 3:00 PM

        I am disappointed that they haven’t been more successful.

        I do not choose to deal with that disappointment by lashing out at the players–most of whom are really quite good at their jobs, and whom I admire and root for–as “underachieving losers.”

        Obviously, Mick’s mileage varies.

    • IsawTeddywin - Aug 29, 2015 at 12:55 PM

      Ah yes, 100 games of Wright = around 70 each from Werth, Span, Rendon.
      Sure it does.

      • Section 222 - Aug 29, 2015 at 3:06 PM

        More like 115 games for Wright. And D’Arnead was hurt for about 75 games. Plus, Duda’s been out recently and Cuddyer has been hurt too. But yes, Werth, Span, Rendon, and Zim have missed a ton of games for the Nats.

  4. Doc - Aug 29, 2015 at 10:58 AM

    Turner, in the field, really is another Espi!

  5. ArVAFan - Aug 29, 2015 at 11:00 AM

    Going to today and tomorrow’s games. Hoping to see Trea’s first ML hit–because once he’s gotten going at each level, he’s been good.

  6. natsfan1a - Aug 29, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    I’ll be there tomorrow but hope he’ll get his hit before then.

  7. topnat - Aug 29, 2015 at 1:27 PM

    Mick I gotta ask regarding the trade deadline moves. Exactly who were you trading for and at what position? And who were you going to sit and eat the money? Werth? Zim? You wrote off Span before you knew if he could play? Desi who was just heating up? It’s not a bottomless pit of money and talent to spend and trade.
    I would not trust an administration that makes poor business decisions to make good baseball decisions [ dodgers]

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 29, 2015 at 1:38 PM


    • veejh - Aug 29, 2015 at 2:26 PM

      Agree. I’m ok with what Rizzo did. It didn’t work out.

      • npb99 - Aug 29, 2015 at 2:32 PM

        A poster on the last thread said he should have traded for Clipper rather than Pap. I tend to agree – would have helped team chemistry more to have the popular Clip back, and it would have avoided the humiliation of Storen.

      • Section 222 - Aug 29, 2015 at 3:10 PM

        Disagree with npb. Papelbon is better than Clip. And Storen is a grown man who should have responded better. Rizzo is entitled to assume his players are professionals.

        I don’t think it’s unfair to think Rizzo should have looked for an outfielder at the deadline. I understand why he didn’t but assuming Werth would be as good as someone like Cespedes has been for the Mets was the triumph of hope over experience.

        Of course, for all we know, Rizzo kicked the tires on Cespedes, and maybe Gomez or Bruce (I wouldn’t want Bruce). Or even CarGo. The asking prices may have been prohiibitive. We do know he was willing to deal — he got Pap after all.

  8. kiawah51 - Aug 29, 2015 at 2:49 PM

    We needed another consistent bat plain and simple. MT could have come off the bench. He’s not the leadoff answer. Too many K’s and whiffs. DIdn’t need a closer. Maybe middle relief. But no doubt bats. FOr all of you that keep saying how great we were last three years, the division sucked and it was obvious when we got to the playoffs. Stop drinking the cool aid. This team needs offense big time.

  9. senators5 - Aug 29, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    I agree totally with your assessment BUT how do we get it with little to offer excluding, of course, the two young arms down on the farm and hopefully they are untouchable.

  10. veejh - Aug 29, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    If you trade away prospects for players and still aren’t good enough to win it all, then that was stupid. No way the Mets are good enough to win the WS. Sorry.

    • veejh - Aug 29, 2015 at 3:17 PM


    • Section 222 - Aug 29, 2015 at 3:58 PM

      That’s a crazy way of looking at it. Anything can happen in the postseason. You have to get there though. I give the Mets a lot of credit for what they did. Remember, they were down by 3 games to a team that was supposed to go all the way when they made the Cespedes trade on July 31.

      And they didn’t give up much for him. He’s a rental. But you haven’t really analyzed the prospects they gave up have you?

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 29, 2015 at 4:20 PM

      Are the Mets likely to win? No. Is it impossible for them to win? Of course not.

  11. nats106 - Aug 29, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    1) Injuries part of the game live with it and move on. Win or lose, but coaches, GMs, fans, players alike, it ain’t an excuse.
    2) Team is not an underachieving group of losers. Right now one game over 500. They are, at the moment, underachieving winners. Two more losses, then they are underachieving losers
    3) I don’t take it out on the players, although I vent at poor decision making by them, or errors, which while part of the game, should be minimal. My vitriol is reserved for one guy, and that’s the man in charge in the dugout.
    4) That being said, they are paid big bucks to play (and play poorly it seems) but we all pay big bucks to see them as well. While I have never booed (vented yes, booed, never) they live with it and their salaries.
    4) Bud Black, Ron Gardenhire, Ron Washington, Frank Robinson, I don’t give a damn who it is. They are all tanned, rested and ready, just like Nixon in 1980.
    5) When I went on my diatribe last night about how the Nats front office and treatment of season ticket holders I read back some of the comments. I want to thank whoever reminded me of the Yoga day in the park that also cost an extra ticket. Unconscionable.

    • Section 222 - Aug 29, 2015 at 4:01 PM

      That was me 106. Let me also remind you that in 1980 Richard Nixon was a bit over the hill to run, not to mention being an impeached former resident. 🙂

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 29, 2015 at 6:39 PM

        Nixon was never impeached. He resigned in order to avoid it. Clinton was impeached though, but not convicted.

      • Section 222 - Aug 30, 2015 at 9:05 AM

        Yes, of course you are correct. My comment was meant in fun. (Should have put a smiley face after it.) But touche’, you really showed me. Impressive knowledge of American history.

    • nats106 - Aug 29, 2015 at 11:48 PM

      Leave it to Natswoowoo to ruin a great story with facts. I felt it need ed to be said because it was 80’s night. And thanks for the reminder on Yoga night. Another thing to be aggravated about, but I’ll hold that in abeyance until the Nats lose again, which may be next year

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 29, 2015 at 4:19 PM

    OT, but more fun than beating dead horses:

    “Duffy’s will be reopening soon! To be the first to know when we have a date get on our email list at





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