PHILADELPHIA — Scott Hairston was traded to the Washington Nationals on Sunday night, but issues with his flight out of Chicago on Monday led to him arriving just before the Nationals’ 3-2 loss to the Phillies.
After the game, Hairston was kind enough to meet with the media and discuss joining his new team. Here’s what he had to say about the trade, his role and more:
On his day: “It was pretty hectic. I was packing all night. The flight was delayed twice coming in so it was pretty nerve-wracking but I settled in pretty fast. The guys came up to me and introduced themselves so it’s been good so far.”
On his reaction when he heard he was dealt to the Nationals: “Winning team… I played with Gio Gonzalez and Kurt Suzuki on the A’s and Chad Tracy with the Diamondbacks so it’s good to see familiar faces.”
On if he’d felt recently that he’d be traded: “I had a feeling. There wasn’t much talk about it but around this time, you always think — especially if you’ve been traded before — it’s always on your mind. But I was hoping if I was going to get traded that I’d come to a contender and that happened so I was very happy last night.”
On if during free agency, when he signed a two-year deal with the Cubs, he considered a trade in the first year a possibility: “I thought it was a possibility, yeah. It’s always a possibility when you think about it. You try not to think about it so much. I think this year, I was initially happy where I ended up, with the Cubs, but obviously with the way it ended, I’m a National now.
“I’m happy about that and I know this is going to be good for me to be in this environment. I haven’t been in a winning environment in quite a while so it feels good.”
On his role being mostly as a pinch hitter and occasionally starting against left-handed pitching: “I’m very comfortable with that. I’ve been used to that the last few years. Coming over here I expected the same thing. Being in the NL Central I didn’t really have the opportunity I was looking for. Especially in the span of a few games you’d see a lot of right-handers. But it’s nice coming over here, into this division, which I’m used to. I was with New York for two years so I’ve seen a lot of the pitching, the left-handers.
On how he would evaluate his season to this point: “Just OK. Obviously the batting average is not where I want it to be. I think I shoot for a high average more than anything. But as a player you try to never be satisfied.
“At the same time I just want to do my job coming off the bench and when there’s a lefty on the mound, I want to be a tough out. Overall I haven’t been satisfied with the way I’ve been playing but we still have over a half a season left and there’s still a lot of time.”
On how his familiarity with the division and the pitchers, having been with the Mets, helps: “When you see pitchers that you’ve seen before and the way that they’ve pitched you, it makes things a little easier, mentally. Going to a different division sometimes you’re hard on yourself and try to do too much against pitchers you haven’t seen. But I played in these ballparks. I’ve faced these pitchers. They’re tough, but it’s still nice to face pitchers you’re familiar with.”
On what his brother, Jerry, who played on the Nationals in 2011, told him about D.C.: “Oh yeah, he said I was going to love it here. He had great teammates and friends while he was in Washington. I talked to him last night for a while so he had nothing but good things to say about Washington.”
On whether he’s ever played first base in a professional game in his career, a question which he smiled wide and laughed after: “No. I’d be open to that. I need to get a glove first, but yeah. I’d be open to it. As long as I’m on the field that’s all that matters. I have taken ground balls there, just to practice but I’ve never played in a game at first. Who knows. This game is crazy. It could happen one day. Never know.”