Rizzo: ‘It was time to inject speed, youth and athleticism to the team’

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo felt it was time to inject speed, youth and athleticism to the team and that’s why shortstop Trea Turner was called up to the big leagues Friday afternoon.

Rizzo called Turner “a contact bat with a lot of speed” and can play the middle infield spots. Rizzo warned that it may take a while for Turner to warm up to the big league level. While playing for Double A Harrisburg and Triple A Syracuse, for example, Turner got off to slow starts with the bat, but managed to get the batting average up to .300 in both places.

“We thought it was an opportune time to take advantage of his skills,” Rizzo said of Turner. … “We are not expecting him to be the savior of the offense or the savior of the ballclub. We just want him to do what he does best – add his skillset to Matt Williams’ arsenal of tools to win baseball games. We are not trying to develop at the big league level. We are just trying to win games and we are injecting players that we think have skillset that will help us win.”

The Nationals have 42 games left in the season and 27 of them will be at Nationals Park. Asked what improvements he would like to see from this point forward from his team, Rizzo said, “We are trying to win games. We are thinking one game at a time, we are playing with some urgency. … These guys are into it, they are hustling, they are playing hard. We know where we are at. We know what lies ahead of us. We have to play hard and try to win this game.”

1 Comment

Rizzo talks of injecting speed, youth and athleticism into the line up. But again he is silent about injecting a higher batting average into the line up. What’s needed in the line up are as many .300 hitters as can be had. But again that does not figure into his over emphasis of pitching. If Turner hits at a .300 pace (and that is asking a lot of a rookie who was just brought up from the minors) that will be nice. But will it be enough. The likelihood of that is unlikely with the season well over two thirds done.
Harold G. Pavel

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