On Tap Drink. Dine. Do. April 2018

ON TAP | APRIL 2018 | www.ontaponline.com 28 Taylor is also lucky in some respects. In June, then-Nationals Manager Dusty Baker called him “one of the most fortunate dudes” he had ever managed, according to Patrick Reddington of SB Nation’s Federal Baseball blog. For example, although he didn’t start opening day in 2016 and 2017, he did see significant playing time both seasons because of injuries to Revere and Eaton. This year, he also has the benefit of two experienced, talented outfielders – Eaton and Bryce Harper – flanking him in left and right. “They make it really easy on me,” Taylor says of Eaton and Harper. “Those guys have a lot of experience and are great outfielders. I think we work very well together. We’re all on the same page. They make it easy and encourage me to go out there and take the lead.” Adding to the rocky beginnings of Taylor’s career is the fact that he’s had three different managers since the beginning of 2015. This season, Dave Martinez takes over, and based on Taylor’s attitude, it’s just another fortuitous turn. “Davey has been great. [He] communicates with the guys every day. It’s been very laid-back and energetic. I’ve really enjoyed spring training with him, and I’m looking forward to a full season.” A full season is actually one concern lingering around Taylor, even now that he has established himself as a serious player. In spring training, what the Nationals called “tightness” in his right side – the same side as his oblique strain last season – forced himout of the lineup on March 5. Luckily, he returned to the Nationals’ Grapefruit League lineup on March 17, going one for three with a pair of strikeouts. So what’s Taylor’s goal for 2018? Play in 162 games? Reach the 20-home-run, 20-stolen-base plateau? Make up for that near miss at a Gold Glove? “To win a World Series,” he says. If Taylor, with all of his good fortune, helps the Nationals bring home the World Series trophy, he can go ahead and add “plus” to that “A” in the middle of his name. The Washington Nationals’ home opener is on Thursday, April 5 at 1:05 p.m., when they will host the New York Mets at Nats Park. For more information on Taylor and the Nats’ 2018 season, visit www.mlb.com/nationals. Nationals Park: 1500 South Capitol St. SE, DC 202-675-6287; www.mlb.com/nationals This year’s Pink Tie Party fundraiser at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center benefitted the National Cherry Blossom Festival . Photos: Cristina O’Connell

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