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Sanchez comfortable in his spring debut in left

@cdenicola13
March 10, 2019

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- With a quick turnaround following Saturday's night game, Nationals manager Dave Martinez found Sunday to be the opportune time for Adrian Sanchez to make his spring debut in left field. With just nine games (one start) at the position over his Minor League career, Sanchez

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- With a quick turnaround following Saturday's night game, Nationals manager Dave Martinez found Sunday to be the opportune time for Adrian Sanchez to make his spring debut in left field.

With just nine games (one start) at the position over his Minor League career, Sanchez looked comfortable there in Washington’s 6-4 win over the Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. He recorded putouts on all three fly balls hit his way over six innings.

Sanchez has displayed his versatility in camp by playing second, third and short in Grapefruit League action, with an appearance at first base in a "B" game.

"Any position that they're able to plug me in, I feel like I can help the team out and learn how to play it, obviously," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "They feel like I can help them out, so I obviously take a lot of pride in that as well. It feels great to feel like they have that confidence in me."

The 28-year-old said he has been getting reps in the outfield since the start of Spring Training, learning how to read the baseball from that angle, maintaining his arm stroke and hitting the cutoff man.

Sanchez is an Opening Day bench option, especially if veteran Howie Kendrick (left hamstring strain) isn't ready by then.

"It's just something for him more [as] a necessity because if somebody does go down and we need him to do different things, he can do it," Martinez said.

Miller returns to mound

Reliever Justin Miller pitched a scoreless fifth inning in his first spring outing since March 2, when he was given a Toradol injection -- an anti-inflammatory shot -- to help relieve pain in his stiff back.

The 31-year-old right-hander broke a bat on his first offering, reached 94 mph and threw just eight pitches (six strikes). He worked around a ground-rule double when center fielder Victor Robles lost a ball in the sun. Miller had completed a pain-free bullpen session on Friday.

"I'm pretty confident it's passed," Miller said. "It was just something weird. I don't know what it was, but something in my back got [upset] at something. I'd never had that issue before, but since getting the injection and waking up in the morning, getting here and doing my workouts and stuff, I wake up the next day and feel fine. I'm pretty confident that tomorrow I'll be fine, too."

Rosenthal shows moxie

Right-hander Trevor Rosenthal worked out of trouble in the ninth inning. After hitting a batter and allowing back-to-back singles, he closed out the game by striking out consecutive batters swinging.

Rosenthal, who missed the 2018 season because of Tommy John surgery, was making his fifth spring appearance.

"I got a little concerned," Martinez said. "For him, he's done everything right. To see him go out there and just finish it was kind of nice. It was good for him. He'll get a couple days off now and see where we're at. He's at 31, 32 pitches throwing 99 [mph]. That tells me a lot about where he's at."

Up next

Max Scherzer gets his fourth spring start on Monday when the Nationals visit the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. ET in Jupiter. Scherzer allowed five runs over 3 1/3 innings to the Red Sox in his last outing.

Christina De Nicola is a reporter and game producer for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow her on Twitter @CDeNicola13.