Sports

McLouth on Matt Williams’ Camp: ‘Really Structured, But You Don’t Feel Burdened’

by Chris Lingebach
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Nate McLouth #15 of the Washington Nationals poses for a portrait during photo day on February 23, 2014 in Viera, Florida. (Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Nate McLouth #15 of the Washington Nationals poses for a portrait during photo day on February 23, 2014 in Viera, Florida. (Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - In the Nationals acquiring Doug Fister, Jerry Blevins and more recently Jose Lobaton, it may have been easy to overlook the signing of Nate McLouth, who could prove to be their best acquisition of all.

McLouth has done it all in the big leagues. In his 9 MLB seasons — spent with the Pirates, Braves, Pirates and Orioles — McLouth has held various roles with teams, both as an everyday player and coming off the bench.

He’s experience the highs and the dreaded lows of the mental game of baseball, and has made it through to reclaim success, proving his value to past organizations.

McLouth joined 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Thursday to share some of those experiences, and report on Nationals manager Matt Williams’ first dance with running spring training, from the perspective of a guy who’s played for many managers previously.

Here are a few notes from that interview, to help you get to know a little more about Nate McLouth.

On Matt Williams’ first spring training camp:

“It’s been great,” McLouth said. “He’s a real serious guy, but has a really good sense of humor and things have been really structured, but you don’t feel burdened. We’ve gotten great work done, and I know that everybody’s excited to finally get going in the games tomorrow, but the camp’s been perfect. It pretty much falls in line with a lot of the other camps I’ve been to, but a lot of attention to detail. That’s kind of a generic way to describe it, but it’s true.”

On staying consistent, not playing every day:

“That’s probably the biggest challenge of baseball, is just coming off the bench and being able to maintain a rhythm,” he said. “There’s certain things you can do on days you’re not playing. I just like to really keep myself mentally engaged in the ballgame and almost trick myself into thinking that I’m playing that game, by just trying to think of situations that may present themselves three or four innings down the road, that I may be involved in, and just really stay engaged.

“As far as body-wise, it’s just something where you gotta change your workout a little bit, depending on how much you’re playing, but it’s what we do for a living. You never get it down, you never figure it out, but I’ve been able to adapt decently.”

On changing leagues:

Asked if the media makes too much or not enough about changing leagues – from American to National, or vice versa – in an offseason, Mclouth, who’s made the transition from both sides, responded, “I don’t personally think so.”

“I think the bigger deal is having to get familiar with your surroundings – as far as your new teammates, the new city that you’re in – I think things like that, in my opinion, are more of a challenge than switching leagues, simply because a lot of people switch leagues,” he said.

Getting His Career Back on Track:

“I think a lot of things kind of went into my struggles,” McLouth said. “And it was a big shock getting traded – and I mentioned just a few minutes ago, getting used to that new environment and new group of guys – I definitely tried too hard; tried to do things I wasn’t capable of; be a home run hitter, things like that. I just really lost myself, and lost who I was, and was not having a ton of fun playing the game.

“I was just real thankful, in 2012, to be able to latch back on with Baltimore, and kind of found myself in a good situation where I was able to play every day, and just have a lot of fun and not put any extra pressure on myself, and just trust that the work that I put in will translate onto the field. I had a blast in Baltimore and I’m looking forward to doing the same here in D.C.”

Superlatives:

As McLouth adapts to a new environment and a new organization, here are few superlatives to which he was asked to administer, based on the short amount of time he’s spent around his new teammates and in the D.C. area.

Funniest teammate: Jayson Werth

All business, all the time: Denard Span (although McLouth notes, he’s the same way)

Commissioner of March Madness pool: What March Madness pool?

Favorite D.C. restaurant: Carmine’s (Glenn Consor, get that man a gift card!)

Listen to the full interview in the clip above.

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