Outfielder Nick Heath shines in D-backs debut against the Nationals
In 36 hours, outfielder Nick Heath went from practicing in Arkansas at the Kansas City Royals’ alternate site to hitting 3-for-4 in Sedona Red for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
“The last couple days have been a roller coaster of emotion,” Heath told reporters via Zoom after the D-backs’ 5-2 win over the Nationals. “From being told I was taken off the roster, being DFA’d and kind of just hanging out in my hotel room for a couple days and obviously waiting to see what was going to go on.
“Crazy enough, here I am in D.C. instead of Northwest Arkansas and you go out and have a great day with the new squad. These last couple of days have been, like I said, a roller coaster of emotion but it works out how it’s supposed to.”
The D-backs acquired the 27-year-old from the Kansas City Royals for right-handed pitcher Eduardo Herrera on Saturday as added depth with All-Star Ketel Marte still sidelined with a hamstring strain.
But once Tim Locastro was placed on the IL Sunday after injuring his pinky, Heath was slotted in to start at centerfield.
“Showing up, I didn’t know what to expect,” Heath said. “Didn’t know what role I was going to be in. … It’s kind of tough, these guys losing somebody they’ve been around for a while so the goal for me right now is just step in and be able to fill in the role.”
“Whatever role they ask me to fill, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability and put it all out there on the field for this team,” he added.
In his first at bat for the D-backs, Heath popped a hit out to center field for a single that advanced Eduardo Escobar to second base. Heath followed it up with a flyout in the fourth and two more singles in the seventh and eighth.
Heath said the energy and positivity from his new teammates helped make the day an easy transition to the new team.
“Being able to come out here and be yourself and know these guys are pulling for you even though you’re the new guy on the block, man that’s pretty awesome,” he said.
For manager Torey Lovullo, it was a welcome sight for an outfield marred by injuries.
“He was in a very loaded position and he had a real nice middle of the field approach. … He got on base and did a really nice job in his first day,” Lovullo said via Zoom. “I’m sure there was a lot of nervous energy, probably didn’t have a great appetite this morning or last night waiting to play this baseball game, but it was a nice day for him.”
Heath made his MLB debut with the Royals last season, and collected two hits with three RBIs and batted .154 in 15 games. So far in the 2021 season, the outfielder went 2-for-13 in 15 games before he was DFA’d by Kansas City.