Junkies Spring Training Nuggets: Day 2


The Sports Junkies are down in West Palm Beach for the beginning of spring training as the reigning World Series champions get ready for Opening Day. Here is everything you need to know from Tuesday's interviews with Eric Thames, Patrick Corbin and Davey Martinez.

Thames Would Rather Face Scherzer than Strasburg

Recently acquired first baseman Eric Thames made his Junkies debut Tuesday and showed a sign of relief that he won't have to face the Nationals' pitching rotation anymore. 

"(Stephen) Strasburg for sure," Thames said when asked which ace he was happiest to not face again. "That change-up, man, its so funny, he throws it and you see it, and like okay its a change-up, its going to be right here, and you swing and its like three-four inches further away, and its like how did it move that much in a matter of like a foot."

"So you would rather face Max (Scherzer) than Strasburg," Junkies host John-Paul Flaim asked.

"I have pretty decent numbers against Max," Thames added.

"What was your approach against Max," Eric Bickel asked. "What would you do? What would you be thinking? Just try and sit on his fastball?"

"No. Just see a ball, hit a ball," Thames answered. "I just feel that some pitchers you can see better than other pitchers. It changes for hitters too. Some guys can see Strasburg really well. I'm not one of those guys."

Corbin knows Parra's energy will be missed

Patrick Corbin's first season with the Nationals went exceptionally well (see also: 2019 World Series outcome) and he's back in West Palm Beach to prepare for year No. 2. Gerardo Parra, one of the biggest characters in last year's clubhouse, signed overseas this past offseason. Corbin knows his presence will be clearly missed, and was asked how they replace such an important clubhouse piece.

"I don't know," Corbin responded. "Something new is every year. Last year was the Baby Shark, the hugging, the dancing, so we'll see what happens this year. I'm sure the dancing will be a part of it. We had fun."

"There was a Latin influence, right" Junkies host Eric Bickel asked. "There was a big Latin influence on that team last year, I feel."

"Yeah. Parra brought all of the energy, he's just that type of person, such a great clubhouse guy. He'll be missed for sure. (Brian) Dozier was another piece like that. We have some other veterans here that like to have fun, which is good to loosen-up the clubhouse and go out there and compete when you need to, but be able to relax and get away from the game when you're not on the field."

Martinez: Third base Carter Kieboom's job 'to lose'
The Nationals have a gaping hole at third base after Anthony Rendon's departure, but Davey Martinez believes No. 1 prospect Carter Kieboom can assume the mantle and hold it down.

Martinez gave an update on Kieboom's development at third base Tuesday morning on The Sports Junkies.

“Hey, I said this earlier this winter, Carter Kieboom comes into spring training having the third base job," Martinez told The Junkies. "He’s gotta earn it, but it’s his job, and I truly believe that. This kid’s special." 

"So you think he’s gonna be Opening Day third baseman," Junkies host Jason Bishop asked.

"As of right now, it’s his job to lose," Martinez said.