When Chris Marrero looks into his future with the Nationals, he is still not sure what he sees. Marrero, the Nationals’ first-round pick in 2006, arrived in the majors more than two weeks ago. He had felt for years that he could hit in the major leagues, and he has initially proved himself right. Marrero has ripped a steady stream of line drives, going 15 for 49 (.306) with three doubles. He drove in two runs yesterday, giving him five in the past three games.
Marrero’s strong start has provided little clarity about his future. He got the call-up he wanted this season. Next year, though, the Nationals have Adam LaRoche penciled in at first base. And if LaRoche falters, Michael Morse could become the Nationals’ best choice at first base for years. But for now, Marrero is trying to push that aside.
“I’m happy,” Marrero said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next season or the year after. But I just want to leave a good impression. The most important thing is to help the team win and leave a good impression.”
Marrero accomplished both yesterday. In the second, he walked to the plate with men on second and third and no outs. Marrero drove a slider to right field, scoring one runner and advancing the other.
“I definitely know that with a man on third, less than two outs and the open bag, the pitcher’s not going to give you too much to hit,” Marrero said. “If he does, you’ve just go to make sure you don’t miss it. Trying to stay up the middle, not try to do too much. I got the run in and moved him over to third, so I’m happy about that.”
Marrero is still looking for his first home run, which is not altogether surprising. Marrero always has possessed the frame and potential for power, but he has become a line-drive hitter. Marrero hit 23 homers in his first full minor league season in 2007. His most since is 18, which came last year. This season, Marrero hit 14 homers and 30 doubles while slugging .449.
The bigger question for Marrero is his glove. After he made two errors in his debut, Marrero has not made another while playing every day. But he has not been able to save a couple throws in the dirt most first basemen would scoop. One scout said yesterday he would have to improve in order to play there every day, particularly with his footwork. He made immense defensive strides from last year to this season, and so he is trending upward.
But Marrero got to the majors for his bat. In a short introduction, he has not disappointed.
FROM THE POST
Stephen Strasburg lasted three innings in the Nationals’ 8-2 win over the Astros, which provided more promise and some frustration.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Richmond 2, Harrisburg 1: The Senators were swept out of the playoffs, losing the series 3-0. Erik Komatsu went 1 for 4 with a double. Tanner Roark allowed two runs in seven innings on six hits and a walk, striking out 10.
Potomac 6, Frederick 1: The P-Nats forced a decisive Game 5, which will be played tonight in Frederick. Destin Hood went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk. Zachary Walters went 1 for 2 with a two-RBI triple. Adam Olbrychowski allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings on six hits and a walk, striking out five.
Vermont will begin the New York-Penn League championship series tonight at Staten Island.