VIERA, Fla. -- On Friday, one day after the Nationals acquired him from the Rays, catcher Jose Lobaton arrived at Space Coast Stadium and worked out with his new teammates.
Lobaton wasn't surprised by the trade, because he had heard for weeks that the Nationals were interested in his services.
"I knew something would happen. If it was not the Nationals, it could be any other team," Lobaton said. "When I got the call, I told my wife, 'Hey, we are going to Washington.' Now I'm here and will [do] the best for the team."
Lobaton became expendable after Tampa Bay re-signed free-agent catcher Jose Molina and traded for Ryan Hanigan. Lobaton played in 100 games for the Rays last season and hit .249 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. He is best remembered for hitting the game-winning home run against the Red Sox in Game 3 of the American League Division Series this past fall.
Lobaton watched the replay of that homer 20 times.
"When that happens, you have to enjoy it," he said. "It's the best moment of my life. It was a really different feeling."
The Nats see Lobaton as insurance in case starter Wilson Ramos has to go on the disabled list. Ramos missed a significant amount of time last season because of hamstring problems.
The friendship between Lobaton and Ramos dates back to their days playing winter ball together in Venezuela. With Ramos' help, Lobaton doesn't expect to have any problems learning about his new pitching staff.
"We can talk about all those pitchers, the staff, how to handle the team. I feel great to have Wilson here. Hopefully, we can be good partners, be good for the team," Lobaton said.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less