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Trea Turner shows encouraging signs in first rehab start with Potomac Nationals

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Trea Turner shows encouraging signs in first rehab start with Potomac Nationals

Trea Turner has finally found his way back onto the baseball diamond. He began a rehabilitation stint with the Class A Advanced Potomac Nationals on Tuesday. 

His first game back was one that showcased his speed and ability out in the field, but also revealed that he may still have some time before he finds himself back with the parent team. 

Designated to P-Nats Tuesday afternoon, Turner (finger) made the short trip to Woodbridge, Virginia where he got the start at his typical shortstop position. At the plate he was a meager 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and a single. Out in the field he had two putouts, three assists and initiated an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. 

Both of his strikeouts came in his first two at-bats. The first only needing four pitches, the latter six. Both were credited to lefthander Jake Latz who has yet to see time in the majors. Changeups threw Turner off as he went around early and he could not anticipate breaking balls from the two Down East Wood Ducks’ pitchers he faced. 

Eager on each pitch, he check-swung at a high fastball during his third at-bat, which made its way into play for a ground out. His only hit was in his last plate appearance in the eighth inning. A solid single with two outs ended the first game of his rehab. 

It was his defense, though, that gave early signs that Turner might not need long in the minors. In addition to the aforementioned double play in the first inning, the biggest highlight of the night was one he made in the sixth inning. A ball was hit to Turner’s right, he made the backhanded play at near full speed and threw across his body, in the air, to get the force out at first. It was a stereotypical Derek Jeter-esque out made by the shortstop. 

This stop with the P-Nats is just the beginning of Turner’s rehab period as he recovers from a broken finger on his right hand. Turner was sent to the injured list on April 3 only four games into the season. 

The injury negated a hot start for Turner, who went 5-for-14 to start. Three of those hits were for extra bases including two homeruns and four stolen bases, three of which came on Opening Day. 

It is anticipated Turner will be in the lineup again with the P-Nats for their game on Wednesday. 

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Davey Martinez tells great story of Gerardo Parra's rise as 'Baby Shark'

Davey Martinez tells great story of Gerardo Parra's rise as 'Baby Shark'

WASHINGTON -- As the great ice skater Chazz Michael Michaels once said, "it gets the people going."

Nationals manager Davey Martinez was enjoying the evening with his team up 7-4 in Game 4 of the NLCS on Tuesday, just nine outs away from a World Series berth, when he felt something was missing. This game needed some juice.

The crowd had gone through a frontload of emotions with seven runs in the first inning and they were in the middle of a long wait until Clinchmas. So, Martinez peered down the dugout and called on the life of the Nationals' party, Gerardo Parra.

That gave the 43,976 fans in attendance what they really came to see and hear. They wanted their favorite band to play their biggest hit; 'Baby Shark.'

"I only put him in the game today to get the fans going again," Martinez joked.

Parra, though, came through with a single to back it all up. He has become a fan favorite on the 2019 Nationals and, for the most part, his production on the field has justified the hype.

Parra's greatest asset for the Nationals, however, is not his game. It is his presence in the clubhouse as the odd-ball who zips to his locker every day on a scooter, blows a party whistle after wins and wears red-tinted sunglasses in the dugout.

He's weird, but in a good way. And he is undeniably a key ingredient to a Nats team that is now further than any D.C. baseball club has been in 86 years.

As he sat at the podium soaked in various forms of celebratory alcohol on Tuesday night, Martinez told a detailed story about Parra earlier in the season, how a conversation between the two helped Parra realize exactly what his role for the Nationals needed to be.

"There was a point in time where he was struggling real bad. He was like 2-for-30, and it was kind of -- everything was kind of down a little bit. I didn't feel that energy, and I brought him in the office, and I said, 'hey, what's going on?' And he goes, 'oh, you know, I'm not hitting. I'm not helping the team.' I go, 'no, no, no.' I said, 'I don't care if you're 2-for-100, your job is to bring the energy every single day. That's who you are.' I said, 'you play that music loud. You pump up the guys.' I said, 'you're the guy that brings that energy every day,' and he just looked at me, and he goes, 'you're right.' He said, 'I'm not doing my job.' I said, 'well, go do your job'," Martinez recalled.

"Needless to say, after that, he started hitting again, and he came back to my office a few days later, and he goes, 'hey, thank you. I didn't realize that I need to have fun too, not worry about' -- I said, 'yeah, hey, bring it every day.'"

Parra has been the symbol of the Nationals' clubhouse chemistry this season which has been hailed as a strength. Major League Baseball is an everyday grind of 162 games and Parra has helped everyone on the team remember on a daily basis that it is just a game.

Martinez and the Nationals believe that approach overall is a big reason why they were able to overcome a 19-31 record to make the playoffs and now the World Series. Parra, though it may not show up in wins above replacement, has been invaluable.

"What he's done in that clubhouse has really changed the way these guys go about their business. I mean, it was business. There wasn't a whole lot of -- he made it fun for this team," Martinez said.

"Those guys up there, every one of his teammates love him, love him. All the fans love him. He's just that guy. He's the Parra Shark."

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Sorry Nats fans, you can't buy the exact same sunglasses as Gerardo Parra and Aníbal Sánchez

Sorry Nats fans, you can't buy the exact same sunglasses as Gerardo Parra and Aníbal Sánchez

Gerardo Parra first broke out his rose-tinted sunglasses in the middle of July, at a time when the Washington Nationals were still hovering around .500 after their seemingly disastrous 19-31 start to the season. 

Then Aníbal Sánchez joined in with some yellow-tinted glasses and the fun-loving pair, and the Nationals, began to garner more and more attention from fans.

Both were signed by the Nationals as free agents: Sánchez in December 2018, and Parra in early May of this year. 

While they've each proven smart pickups -- just look at Sánchez' near no-hitter in the NLCS Game 1 -- it's their uplifting attitude that has really helped get the Nationals to where they are: their first franchise World Series. 

After the craze surrounding Parra's "Baby Shark" walkup song, fans are now searching where to find glasses to match the two fan favorites.

When googling Parra, the fourth-most-googled phrase is "Gerardo Parra sunglasses." The same can be said for Sánchez. 

Alas, from the photos online, Parra and Sánchez's sunglasses are made by the Pepsi-run sparkling water brand bubly, meaning they're likely a promotional item not available to the general public. 

There are similar glasses online, however. A Reddit thread was created in August to help Nationals fans find similar glasses, and some lookalikes pop up in the Google search "bubly sunglasses." 

So, while you can't rock the exact same glasses, there are still options for joining in the fun!

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