“I tried to help [Jake] as much as I could. He had a tough year last year,” Matt added. “He went through a lot of stuff. He’s becoming a man, really is what he’s doing. … He wants to think so much about what he needs to do to make himself stronger and better and I’m trying to get through to him mentally.”
Matt thinks this will be a big year for Jake, so big he mentions that prediction multiple times in a conversation lasting no more than 10 minutes.
Their father spent the past few days in Viera and his trip to Arizona is upcoming. But he’ll leave behind one son in Matt, who has made good use of his time in major league camp and will likely begin the year at Double-A Harrisburg.
“He’s a really good-looking young player,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “He’s got a good arm, good hands, I like his bat approach. He just needs to go play.”
Matt hopes that someday his and Jake’s paths will cross professionally. Until then, they’ll keep up the phone calls.
“I would love to play against him one day, or even with him,” Matt said. “But it’s just fun to have somebody going through the same things you are.”