Souza shows flashes in brief action for Nats
WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Steven Souza, who was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Monday to replace the injured Nate McLouth (right shoulder inflammation), saw his first action in the field Wednesday night when he entered for right fielder Jayson Werth in the seventh inning. Werth has been dealing with shoulder and neck tightness for the past week, and manager Matt Williams said he made the move to avoid any risk of further injury.
Souza got one at-bat in the seventh inning, the second plate appearance of his most recent stint in the Majors. He flied out to center, but he nearly hit his first big league home run earlier in the at-bat when he turned on a 1-1 fastball from Mets reliever Buddy Carlyle. The long drive sailed just foul and landed about 15 rows into the blue seats in left field.
Souza also made a smooth defensive play in the top of the ninth inning. With one out, Chris Young connected on a short blooper to right. Souza charged, called off second baseman Danny Espinosa and made the sliding catch.
"He's playing really well. He has been all season," Williams said. "Just a missed a homer, but he had a good at-bat and fouled the first one off, pulled the second one and actually just missed the third one, too. So it's good to see."
On Thursday, Baseball America tabbed Souza -- the Nationals' No. 5 prospect, according to MLB.com -- as the best power prospect, best baserunner and best outfield arm in the Triple-A International League. In 91 games for Syracuse before joining the Nats earlier this week, Souza hit .354 with 18 home runs, 70 RBIs and 24 stolen bases.