WASHINGTON – Infielder Jackson Cluff, drafted by the Nationals in 2019, was in minor league spring coaching with the membership the next yr when he was summoned to a Spring Coaching recreation by Washington.
Cluff, 25, and a sixth-round select of BYU, reported to Port St. Lucie, Florida as an additional infielder for a recreation in opposition to the New York Mets.
Cluff acquired to the clubhouse earlier than a number of the older gamers arrived, however Ryan Zimmerman was there.
“I went and put my stuff within the locker however he kindly advised me to attend till the massive leaguers put their stuff in a locker,” Cluff advised Federal Baseball in a telephone interview Thursday from Florida. “He was good to me; he stated it in a pleasant method.”
Cluff acquired one at-bat that break day the bench and some days later Spring Coaching shut down in Florida and Arizona as a result of pandemic.
There was no minor league season for Cluff in 2020 and Zimmerman determined to sit down out the shortened Main League schedule because of COVID-19 issues – his mom has had MS for a few years.
Now that Zimmerman has retired, Cluff feels lucky that he was capable of watch him from afar for just a few years.
“One of the best ways to say it he was a veteran in every thing he did,” Cluff stated of the College of Virginia product. “He did issues the proper method, he handled individuals the proper method.”
Cluff will not be on the 40-man roster of the Nationals, however after a powerful Arizona Fall League, he actually has their consideration.
He has been figuring out within the Orlando space the previous few weeks with Florida State merchandise Drew Mendoza and pitcher Andrew Karp, who’re additionally within the Washington farm system. Mendoza, an infielder, was additionally drafted in 2019 and was teammate at Single-A Hagerstown that season with Cluff.
After a number of accidents throughout the 2021 season, Cluff has turned himself into an possibility for infield depth in Washington down the street.
“Staying wholesome is my No. 1 purpose, and keep on the sphere,” he stated of 2022. “And No. 2 is to assist the Nationals win sooner or later.”
Cluff will head to West Palm Seaside at some point – no official date as of Thursday for minor leaguers – and feels he’ll begin the season with a minor league membership.
However after that, he hopes to get a name to the majors this yr.
He was married in January to former BYU soccer standout midfielder Mikayla Colohan (now Cluff), who’s in coaching with the Orlando Pleasure within the girls’s professional league NWSL. Her group begins the season on Feb. 27 in opposition to Montreal.
Cluff is taken into account the highest infield prospect within the Nationals’ system by Baseball America.
He performed 5 video games within the Gulf Coast League and for Single-A Fredericksburg final yr and in 35 video games for Double-A Harrisburg. All advised, he hit .214 in 159 at-bats.
However within the Arizona Fall League, he was named the highest defensive participant whereas hitting .342 with eight steals in 22 video games for Shock supervisor Mario Lisson, who was the Fredericksburg skipper final yr.
“It was feeling; it gave me confidence,” stated Cluff, noting he has performed in simply 107 video games within the minors since signing with Washington.