Stone Garrett was in the midst of a bit of a slump at the plate (0-for-9), but he did well overall in August (16 hits in 50 at bats, 6 doubles, 2 home runs, batting average .320/.379/.560 line, 60 at-bats in 16 games.) On August 23, he suffered a season-ending ankle injury on a play that hit the right field wall at Yankee Stadium.
“He was unbelievable,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters about Garrett’s subsequent run after being injured in New York. “Off the field, on the field, he’s a special kid, he really is.
“Hopefully the good news is that he’s okay and that he can get through this. But he was in a lot of pain.”
It was especially disappointing to see Garrett go down just as he had a chance to be a regular starter in the Nationals’ outfield.
“You never want to see anyone get hurt. When he went down like that, it just broke my heart,” Martinez said.
“He was wincing outside. He was hurt quite a bit. Hopefully, he’s okay. It’s his left leg. I know he’s getting X-rays. We We don’t know anything yet, so we’ll know more when they return.
“But it’s been tough. He’s one of the favorites in our clubhouse. I love the kid, so I hope everything works out.”
The captain said that in addition to his growth on the field, Garrett made his major league debut in 2022 at age 26 with Arizona and developed through his first season in D.C. after signing with Washington over the winter. , become the clubhouse leader.
“He has that presence. He’s very soft-spoken, but he’s one of those players who likes to have fun and likes to make everyone relax, but he’s a great teammate,” Martinez said.
It was especially cruel for him to get injured just as he was finally able to play every day, but in the coach’s opinion it didn’t take away from the work he’s done to improve.
“I challenged him early on to be a better outfielder, and he did it,” Martinez said.
“I asked him to put the ball in play more and he did that and drove in more runs.
“Everything I asked him to do, he went out of his way to do it. I love people like that.
“So, for me, he meant a lot, not just to me, but to this clubhouse, this locker room and the fans. He’s one of the fan favorites, I know, he meant a lot to me. It means a lot to us as well.”
Garrett entered the IL with a fractured left fibula, but the nature of the injury raised some questions about what his future holds.
He finished the season with a batting average of .269/.343/.457 with 17 doubles, 9 home runs, 82 kicks, and 26 walks in 89 games and 271 PA.
As of early December, Garrett was hitting and running again.
“I started hitting it last week.” Garrett said in an interview on MASN’s Hot Stove Show..
“I’ve been running on the treadmill for about a month now, so I’m trying to incorporate more explosive movements. I’m feeling pretty good.”
So, if healthy and back to 100%, where does Garrett fit into the Nationals’ plans for 2024?
“He’s coming along well, working out and rehabbing,” GM Mike Rizzo said during winter meetings the first week of December.
How will the player and the club know when he can run at full speed again?
“We do all the measurements and all the physical exams,” Rizzo explained. “…and the eye test. Are the strides the same? Are the strides the same? Does he even support it?
“And ultimately, if he passes all these tests, when he has to go from rehab to workout, instinctively, [at] The speed of the game, making it work, often when you communicate that, and he will understand when to do it without fear. ”
Rizzo also praised Garrett, praising the effort the outfielder put in to get to where he was before his season-ending injury.
“I thought he improved a lot,” the GM said. “We brought him there, actually, my idea was for him to play against left-handed pitchers and maybe as a defensive replacement in left field. And he took it. , ran with that, and Davey started putting him in there, right-handed pitcher, and did well there as well. He’s really trying to become an all-around player for us, I thought it could definitely be in my future plans.”