- The Washington Times
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

BALTIMORE — Camden Yards and Nationals Park are only 38 miles apart, but they might as well be on opposite sides of the planet for Orioles catcher Pedro Severino.

The former Nationals prospect, who floundered in his four seasons in Washington, has blossomed in Baltimore after signing with the Orioles this year. The 25-year-old has been racking up homers inside a different Beltway, and made franchise history with a home run trio against the Texas Rangers in June.

“It feels awesome, you know, the first Dominican catcher to do that and the first catcher in the Orioles,” Severino told The Washington Times.

Severino, signed just before the season opener, is hitting .267 and had nine home runs and 25 RBIs at the All-Star break. Compare that to four homers in four years with the Nationals.

“It’s my first time in my career just to hit more than two homers in baseball, so I was feeling pretty good,” he said.

Severino landed in the Nationals starting lineup last year after Matt Wieters’ hamstring injury and Miguel Montero’s early release cleared a spot behind home plate.

Former general manager Mike Rizzo called Severino the “catcher of the future” in 2016, but the prediction seemed like an overstatement last season. Severino hit .168 in 2018 — and .124 during his two-month stint as a starter.

The ballplayer has bounced in and out of the minors since he was signed by the Nationals in 2010. He had his first shot in the big leagues in 2015, but cycled back to the minors at the start of the 2016 season.

Severino attributed his struggles with the Nationals to his youth. He said every player needs to make progress before they can succeed.

“Soto’s 19, 20 years old, but he can already play in big leagues … everybody’s not like him,” Severino said. “Everybody has to pass.”

When Severino played alongside the seasoned players last season, he said he lacked confidence, but Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle said he watched a young Severino mature.

Doolittle said Severino used to keep a journal during spring training where he would jot down notes while working with different pitchers.

“I don’t know what he was scribbling in there,” Doolittle said. “But after games, after outings, you could get a sense of the way he was maturing because of not only the way that he called games, but when you would talk to him — you would debrief after an outing — and he had really specific reasons why he was calling certain pitches.”

While he was a greener player among veterans in Washington, he fits right in with the younger lineup in Baltimore.

“He keeps things light and he’s always happy but he’s an intense player too,” Orioles first basemen Trey Mancini said. “He’s into every game and plays hard.”

And Severino knows that his teammates have his back.

“Every time when I just pass the white line, I just like to do my best and stay confident in myself,” he said.

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