WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Jose Lobaton caught two pitchers Thursday during the Washington Nationals’ first spring training workout. One is an elder trying to make the team. The other is a rookie in his first camp.
Lobaton was the recipient of pitches from 42-year-old Joe Nathan who has had two Tommy John surgeries, the most recent in 2015, and is second among active pitchers in career saves. He pitched 6 ⅓ innings in the major leagues last season.
Erick Fedde is 23. He played his first full pro season last year. This is his first major-league camp.
Lobaton, renowned by pitchers for his soft hands and acumen behind the plate, spent about 10 minutes catching each. At one point, pitching coach Mike Maddux asked Nathan if he was tired after a large exhale.
“No,” Nathan said. “Just trying to get ‘em where we want ‘em.”
Here’s what Lobaton saw from them:
“Good fastball, good curveball, good slider. He got some kind of like, heavy ball. That kind of that has in the end, something different. He’s got a good sinker. I only caught two guys today and Nathan was really good. Never catch him before. All the pitches he has are pretty good.
“What I saw over there is that he’s ready. Hopefully, we can have him healthy in spring so he can show that he’s ready and can make the team.”
“He was real wild today. I talked to him a little bit. (Was he nervous?) Maybe. That happens. That happens to everybody. I told him just relax, it’s the first day. Just take this as a lesson and be ready for the next bullpen. But, he showed me a couple changeups. I know he’s got good sinker. I heard a lot of good things about him. I know that he’s got something better. But, like I said, first day, some guys get nervous and we know that. As a catcher, I know. That happened to me, too, my first year. I think I missed like 20 balls that day. He’ll be fine. Everybody knows that he’s a good pitcher.”
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