The Nationals traded Cleveland for Asdrubal Cabrera right before last week’s trade deadline. (Alex Brandon/AP) The Nationals traded Cleveland for Asdrubal Cabrera right before last week’s trade deadline. (Alex Brandon/AP)

In his first game as a National on Aug. 1, Asdrubal Cabrera broke to his left to retrieve a hard-hit ground ball by Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Cabrera slid and extended his left arm to snag it before jumping to his feet, spinning and throwing Rollins out at first.

It was the kind of play an experienced second baseman makes, not someone who hadn’t played the position since 2009. But that’s just one reason why the Nationals traded Cleveland for Cabrera right before last week’s trade deadline.

“It’s not foreign to him. It always comes back,” manager Matt Williams said. “The mind always tells you I got time, I can go ahead and get down, spin around and make the play.”

Express caught up with Cabrera for a few questions.

What’s it like moving back to second base after spending the majority of your career as a shortstop?

I feel really good over there. I played that position my first two years here in the big leagues. I’m feeling confident.

The Indians were 6 ½ games out of first place before you were traded. How different is it coming to a team that’s in first place in its division with two months to go?

It’s a big difference when you’re in first place with a team like this. It’s where you want to be. We want to win and make a push.

What’s it been like since coming here with your new teammates?

There are a lot of nice guys here. I think that makes a difference between a good team and a bad team. I’m going to come in here and do my best to help those guys win.

A while back in your career, you wore a white-beaded necklace your wife made during games. Do you still wear that and what was the significance of it?

Whoa, that was a long time ago. I have it at home. … It was in 2007, [the year] I made it to the big leagues. Before I came to the United States, she made it to be good luck for that year. I used it for that year. I don’t wear it [in games] anymore.

In innings four through six, you’ve hit .296 in your career. What is it about after that first at-bat that lets you settle in at the plate in those middle innings?

I just try to do my best every at-bat. That’s what I plan to do. That’s where my focus is all the time, trying to get on base.

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