Although Jose Lobaton was overshadowed by Wilson Ramos' career year in 2016, the switch hitter is quietly coming off his best season with the Nationals, slashing .232/.319/.374 in 114 plate appearances. After Washington lost Ramos to an ACL injury, the 32-year-old split catching duties with 23-year-old Pedro Severino, earning three of five playoff starts for Washington. Ramos left via free agency in December, leaving Lobaton to compete for the starting job with newly acquired Derek Norris and possibly Severino. Norris appears to be the favorite, chiefly because of his pitch framing and work behind the plate, though Lobaton isn't far behind in either category. Lobaton could threaten or supplant Norris if the latter can't confidently clear the Mendoza Line this year.
Lobaton (forearm) will catch and bat eighth in the lineup for Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Yankees, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. As expected, Labaton is back behind the dish Monday following a week-long absence due to the forearm injury. With the Nationals having recently released Derek Norris, Lobaton looks set to open the season as the backup to No. 1 catcher Matt Wieters.
Lobaton (forearm) is set to play in a minor league game Sunday and will return to Grapefruit League action Monday, Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reports. Lobaton has missed the past week with a forearm issue similar to the one that caused his troubles during the 2016 season. It appears that he's progressing well, as the vet is expected to return to the Nationals on Monday.
Lobaton signed a one-year deal with the Nationals to avoid arbitration, Mark Zuckerman of MASN reports. Lobaton will compete with Pedro Severino for the Nationals' top catching spot barring another player being acquired or Wilson Ramos being re-signed. The 32-year-old quietly posted his best season in Washington behind Ramos' MVP campaign in 2016, slashing .232/.319/.374 in 114 plate appearances.
Lobaton is not in the lineup Tuesday for Game 4 of the Nationals' NLDS matchup with the Dodgers. Lobaton started Games 2 and 3 and went 2-for-7 with a three-run home run, but he will open on the bench Tuesday with Pedro Severino getting the nod behind the plate.
Lobaton went 1-for-4 with a three-run home run in Sunday's win over the Dodgers, evening the NLDS at 1-1. The fourth-inning shot proved to be all the offense the Nats would need in a 5-2 victory. Lobaton's playoff track record is a short but impressive one, as he now has two home runs in 11 at-bats, and the switch-hitter, and the switch-hitter could find himself right back in the lineup Monday for Game 3 with the Dodgers set to send Kenta Maeda to the mound.