Greg Dobbs Brings More Depth To Nationals' BenchPosted on May 19, 2014 by David Driver
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Greg Dobbs, who began the 2014 season with the Miami Marlins, was a free agent before the 2011 season, and at the time, he wanted to sign with the Washington Nationals. But Dobbs said a sticking point was the number of years for a potential contract with the Nationals.
"I could see the makings of this club and how special it could be," said Dobbs, who ended up signing with the Marlins at the time. "In watching that the last two and a half years from the other side, I would like to think I am pretty smart, and my assumptions were pretty correct."
Dobbs is to pinch-hitting what a young cellist is to the Washington Opera -- a virtuoso.
And it didn't take long for him to display his craft before a capital audience after the Nationals signed him May 12. Washington added Dobbs to its 25-man roster May 16.
In Dobbs' first at bat, as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, he smashed the first pitch he saw at Nationals Park as a member of the home team into center field for the 97th pinch-hit of his career. He moved into 11th on the all-time list in that category.
Dobbs is becoming an expert on the National League East. He played for Philadelphia from 2007-10 before joining the Marlins in time for the 2011 season.
Now, he is part of a playoff contender in Washington.
"It was something that appealed to me very much," Dobbs said, "and I wanted to be a part of it. I love this park."
When Dobbs played for Philadelphia, one of his teammates was current Washington right fielder Jayson Werth.
"He is familiar with the National League East," manager Matt Williams said of Dobbs. "He has been around the league a long time. He is a professional hitter off the bench."
Williams said Dobbs may earn playing time at first base while Adam LaRoche remains injured. Dobbs served exclusively as a pinch hitter for the Marlins early this season, and despite his success, Dobbs said pinch-hitting was a challenge.
"It is difficult no matter what," he said of pinch-hitting. "With my situation in Miami, that was my role. I put my head down and tried to do the best I could at that role."
Dobbs said Washington general manager Mike Rizzo and assistant general manager Doug Harris, a former pitcher at James Madison University in Virginia, had suggested he head to the Nationals' spring training home in Viera, Fla., after he signed with the team.
Instead of playing for a minor league club, Dobbs was able to get six or seven at bats per day in extending spring training games against Washington minor leaguers.
"I thought it was a brilliant move," Dobbs said.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden came away from his first rookie minicamp satisfied that the sessions had helped prepare players for the months ahead.