From watching eclipse to catching in MLB, Millas makes '24 debut

April 11th, 2024

SAN FRANCISCO -- had just finished observing the solar eclipse in Rochester, N.Y., on Monday when his phone rang. The monumental event was followed by monumental news: Millas was being promoted again from the Triple-A Red Wings to the Nationals.

“Skip [manager Matthew LeCroy] made sure I saw the eclipse before he called me,” Millas laughed.

Millas, ranked as the Nationals’ No. 20 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was selected for his second stint with Washington. A familiar face in the clubhouse, he made his Major League debut last Aug. 28, and participated in big league camp with the Nats this spring.

“I'm way more comfortable with the guys this year, no question,” Millas, 26, said.

The roster move was a sequence of events after right-hander Josiah Gray was placed on the 15-day injured list on Tuesday because of a right elbow/forearm flexor strain. Righty Joan Adon was called up to start in place of Gray on Tuesday, and Millas was called up the following morning when Adon was optioned to Rochester prior to the Nationals' 7-1 loss to the Giants.

The Nationals’ plan was for Millas to be available as a third catcher in case they decided to play Keibert Ruiz and Riley Adams in a catcher-designated hitter pairing in the same game. But Ruiz came down with a bug, and Millas was tabbed to start on Wednesday.

“I could have easily played Riley, but he was here so I wanted to get him in there,” manager Dave Martinez said. “I thought he handled himself really well. He threw somebody out, he got a base hit, so he did well.”

A season that began slowly for Millas quickly ramped up this week. After flying cross country to San Francisco on Tuesday, he was in the lineup Wednesday to catch Patrick Corbin.

Because of persistent inclement weather in Rochester from April 2-5, Millas had only played four games at Triple-A. He kept as fresh as he could with the support system of fellow catchers Brady Lindsly and Jarrett Gonzales.

“It’s tough,” Millas said. “You’ve got to push yourself and hold yourself accountable in those scenarios. Honestly, I've never been through anything like that -- four straight days of not even remotely even having a chance to play.”

Millas had a busy afternoon of work at Oracle Park. The Giants, who entered the game as the only team without a stolen base, were aggressive on the basepaths and swiped three bags. Millas, on the flip side, threw out one runner. In the third inning, he also singled on a bunt and stole his first Major League base.

“He’s a professional catcher,” said Corbin. “He does his homework. You trust the pitches that he’s calling behind the plate. He seems like he’s been around a lot longer than he has. Fortunate to have those three catchers here that are able to work well with each other and go over reports and things like that.”

Millas had been looking forward to the possibility of seeing old friends in Oakland this weekend when the Nationals face the Athletics, who selected Millas in the seventh round of the 2019 Draft. Given the Nats' schedule and roster needs, though, Millas was optioned to Triple-A following the game. A corresponding move was not announced.

“I think we’re going to end up needing another pitcher,” said Martinez. “Our bullpen’s been pretty beat up. We’ve got a day [off Thursday] to figure things out, and then we’ll know what we’re going to do Friday.”