Meneses credits his mom for ending HR drought

May 12th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Jessica Camerato’s Nationals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

BOSTON -- sent his mother, Lupita Ramirez, a video when he toured the Green Monster at Fenway Park on Friday. He wanted to share with her the sights and scenes of the historic stadium.

Her response: You’re going to hit your first home run of the season there.

Ramirez was correct. On Saturday afternoon, Meneses belted his first homer of 2024 over the iconic Green Monster in left-center field.

He considers it a double Mother’s Day gift.

“It was very special, especially since it was Mother’s Day [on Friday] in Mexico and it’s Mother’s Day here [on Sunday],” Meneses said. “ ... I definitely dedicate it to her and to my wife.”

In his quest for his first home run since Sept. 20, 2023, Meneses capitalized on a second-inning sweeper from right-hander Cooper Criswell. He belted the ball a Statcast-projected 388 feet with an exit velocity of 103.7 mph, outstretching his arms toward the Nationals' dugout as he rounded third base.

“Obviously, I was very excited,” Meneses said. “As I’m rounding, I take a deep breath, kind of a sense of relief because it was my first one.”

It was the offensive spark he had been looking to provide his teammates all season. Meneses, who burst onto the Major League scene in 2022 by pummeling 13 homers and 34 RBIs in his first 56 games – all at the age of 30 – entered Saturday batting .219 with zero home runs and 18 RBIs through 33 games.

“He was happy,” manager Dave Martinez said. “It’s good to get that first one out of the way. Hopefully, it’ll get him going. But he’s been driving in some big runs for us all year long. He’s really good when he stays in the middle of the field. On occasion, he’ll pull a ball like that and hit a ball far, but he’s big about driving runs in for us.”

Long before Meneses homered at Fenway Park as a visitor, he had dreamed of doing so as a member of the Red Sox organization. In 2021, he played for Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester in Boston's farm system.

With Saturday’s home run, Meneses has gone yard versus every Major League organization he played with before signing a Minor League deal with the Nats in 2022. He has homered once against the Braves (whose system he played in from 2011-17) and four times against the Phillies (2018).

“I felt great, obviously, because it’s my first home run, not because I played with them in the Minor Leagues,” Meneses said. “I appreciate everything they did for me and [giving] me the opportunity to play there, but it’s a great feeling to hit your first home run.”

After the game, Meneses was looking forward to calling his mother. He welcomes the next time she makes another prediction.

“Please tell me more often,” he said with a smile.