Notes: Turner hits third; Nats get second parade

February 19th, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Who is going to bat in the third spot?

It’s a question the Nationals have to answer during Spring Training following the departure of Anthony Rendon. The team has options, one of them being moving down in the order from the leadoff spot.

“I thought it was kind of a joke at first, but now it’s a possibility,” Turner said. “I’m not scared of it. I’m not shy of it or afraid of it. It’s just funny to think of me as a three-hole hitter. I’d probably be the most unintimidating three-hole hitter in the league at 150 pounds. [Laughs] But I’m going to take pride in it and try to be as good of an offensive player as I can for my team, whether that’s leadoff, second, third, whatever it is.”

All joking aside, the shortstop slashed .298/.353/.497 last season. He was third on the Nationals with 155 hits and led the team in stolen bases (35). Last season, Turner batted first in all but five games, when he hit second. He only has batted third in the order once in his career.

“He’s just a really good hitter,” manager Dave Martinez said. “This is something that we’re going to kind of mess around with early and see where we’re at.”

The Nationals have a lot to consider in determining their order. Martinez likes the one-two combination of Turner and , and both and also are possibilities to bat third.

But if Turner were to shift to the three spot, is a potential candidate to take over in the leadoff spot. He has hit .333 in 60 at-bats over his career in that role. Martinez believes if Robles continues to drive the ball and focuses on taking walks and swinging in the strike zone, “he can make things happen.”

“I want to see how Robles reacts hitting up at the top of the order,” Martinez said. “If he can start honing in on the strike zone and taking his walks … could you imagine having him, Eaton, Turner, [Juan] Soto? I think that’s pretty dynamic. But we’ve got tons of time. We’ve got a lot of options.”

The top of the Nationals batting order could go in many directions, and the team has all of Spring Training to figure that out. While they explore different combinations, Turner is ready to go, wherever he sees his name on the lineup.

“I’ve always said, even batting leadoff, that I want to be a dangerous hitter,” he said.

Time for another parade
As more World Series championship signs continue to be hung up around the Nationals complex, the team was fitted for its rings on Wednesday.

“I felt like Robles today,” Martinez said of the boisterous outfielder. “I came in screaming with a whole lot of energy -- ‘Where’s my ring?’ It was exciting. In case anybody’s wondering, I’m a size 10.”

The Nats will continue their celebrations on Thursday night when the city of West Palm Beach holds a parade and rally in their honor. The event will run from 6-9 p.m. ET at Clematis Street and West Palm Beach Waterfront.

“For me, the fans, they were there,” Martinez said. “They were the 26th man, and it was a lot of joy, a lot of fun. So why not celebrate with them?”