PITTSBURGH -- Infielder Danny Espinosa's contract was purchased from Triple-A Syracuse on Sept. 1, and he has certainly made an impression in his first two appearances for the Nats.
He notched an RBI double in his Major League debut on Wednesday at Florida. Then in his first big league start on Friday in Pittsburgh, he hit his first home run and had his first multihit game.
"This is about him getting acclimated into the league, to see the pace of the game, see if there is anything different," Washington manager Jim Riggleman said. "For the most part, I think he's going to feel like he's comfortable and everything is the same, the talent is better, but hopefully by the end of the month he realizes that he's played enough to realize he can play here."
Espinosa, who has played second base with the Nats, is a natural shortstop, but he could be the team's starting second baseman next year, joining regular shortstop Ian Desmond as the double-play combination.
"I think both those guys are real credits to the organization and credits to our scouts and player development," Riggleman said. "Both spent significant time in the Minor Leagues. They are products of our scouting and our system. To have a shortstop and second baseman come through your system and implant themselves there -- hopefully for the long haul. It's too early to tell for sure, but they both are very athletic. We know they are Major Leaguers athletically, if they are Major League players we'll know that in time. It's pretty special to have two good athletes like that in the middle of your diamond."
Espinosa is batting .500 in two games with the Nats and has one home run and two RBIs. In a combined 123 games for Double-A Harrisburg and Syracuse this year, the 23-year-old hit .268 with 22 homers, 69 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.
"His style of play is that he's a high-energy guy," Riggleman said. "He's stealing bases, he's playing hard, he throws hard. The only guy I've ever seen, and I go back to Shawon Dunston's arm and Ian Desmond's arm, and this kid's arm is like that. We've got high-energy, throw-the-ball-hard, run-hard, swing-hard attitude to the game."
Riggleman plans to use Espinosa extensively down the stretch in this season.
"We've probably got 25 or 28 games somewhere in that range, and hopefully he'll be in there in 15 to 20 of those games," Riggleman said. "A considerable amount and actually could be in more if we get him a couple of games at shortstop. He's going to get a lot of action."