WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Nationals clubhouse, packed to the brim with spring training hopefuls, had two unoccupied lockers as of Thursday. One was in the back corner, wedged between boxes of gear belonging to Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth, right next to the overflowing locker of catcher Derek Norris. The second was on the other side of the clubhouse, with a few of the nonroster invitees and late additions such as Adam Lind, surrounded by a little more breathing room.
Friday morning, that locker had a nameplate, albeit in a slightly different font than the rest. It read “Matt Wieters 32,” a subtle announcement of the Nationals’ newest addition, and the jersey number he will wear for at least one season in D.C.
Number 32 used to belong to Koda Glover, and it seemed to fit the youngster well. Number 32 once belonged to Chad Cordero, one of the early Nationals stars and one of the steadiest closers for a franchise that has struggled to make them stick. Glover seems likely to contend for that closer’s spot one day. He had never been in big league camp before getting called up midway through last season. When he did, a number 32 jersey hung in his locker — the clubhouse staff’s choice, not his.
But Glover knew Wieters used to wear that number in Baltimore, so when he met Wieters this week, the 23-year-old kid asked the 30-year-old veteran if he wanted it.
“I wanted to. Wieters is a good catcher, been around for a while,” Glover said. “We talked about it, and I said ‘it’s all yours.’”
The nameplate above Glover’s locker is now modified, too, the same smaller font as Wieters’s, pulled together at the last minute to accommodate the switch. He will now wear Number 30, and said he does not care one bit.