Nats' Robles extends hot spring with homer

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Victor Robles isn’t letting up in his quest to earn an outfield job by Opening Day.

The Nationals’ top prospect went 2-for-4 with a long home run to help Washington past Minnesota, 10-4, in Fort Myers on Thursday afternoon. Robles, MLB.com’s No. 4 overall prospect, slugged his second homer of the spring in the second inning, knocking home Spencer Kieboom as the Nats (11-8) took a 5-0 lead. The outfielder, who is batting .375 in Spring Training, began the game with a line-drive single to center and scored on Jake Noll‘s two-run double.

Tweet from @MiLB: Victor Robles might not be known for his power, but when you’re the No. 4 overall prospect, the pop finds you. pic.twitter.com/YOfgajfnyF

Robles went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks, a run and two stolen bases on Wednesday and could be in line to take the Nats’ primary center field job. He’s expected to shift to right at times — as he did Thursday — when Michael Taylor gets penciled in at center field.

“We’ve got four really good outfielders,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Tuesday. “I think they’re all going to play. Victor’s going to play because he’s young and we’ve actually got to see what he can do. But Michael’s just as important as anyone, and I want to get him playing time.”

Tanner Rainey, the Nats’ No. 19 prospect, allowed a run on two hits in one inning and Kyle McGowin, Washington’s No. 30 prospect, worked around two walks in one inning of relief.

Twins No. 5 prospect Trevor Larnach went 1-for-2 with a homer in the loss. 

In other spring action:

Yankees 1, Blue Jays 1

Estevan Florial went 1-for-3 with a walk and Bo Bichette doubled and walked as the Yanks and Jays settled for a tie in Dunedin. Florial, the Yankees’ top prospect, played the entire game in center field and got his only hit in the seventh on a ball he hit back at Toronto pitcher Elvis Luciano. The outfielder is batting .345 this spring. Bichette, the Blue Jays’ No. 2 prospect, bumped his average up to .406 with the hit. Luciano, Toronto’s No. 28 prospect, pitched around a pair of hits in 1 2/3 innings. Box score

Mets 1, Cardinals 1

There was little prospect action Thursday as the Mets and Cardinals battled to a tie in a crisp 2:32 at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter. Top Mets prospect Pete Alonso went 1-for-3, dropping his spring average to .368. His main competition for New York’s first base job, Dominic Smith, is hitting .433/.500/.600 after getting the day off. Box score

Phillies (ss) 4, Rays 3

Rays two-way player Brendan McKay — baseball’s No. 29 prospect — made the most of his first plate appearance of the spring. The Louisville product, who moonlights as a designated hitter when not pitching, delivered a pinch-hit single off the Phillies’ Yacksel Rios in the seventh inning of Tampa’s defeat. Lefty Colin Poche, the Rays’ No. 18 prospect, took the loss after yielding one run — a solo shot by Phillies slugger Dylan Cozens — on one hit over 1 1/3 innings. Box score

Twins 7, Orioles 6

Fourth-ranked Orioles prospect Austin Hays hit an RBI double to left in the fourth inning and walked and scored a run in the sixth. No. 22 prospect Branden Kline suffered his second loss of the spring after allowing the go-ahead run on a Jacob Pearson single to left in the ninth. He allowed two hits and struck out one in one inning. Box score

Red Sox 4, Tigers 3

C.J. Chatham lined an opposite-field RBI single in the fifth to tie the game at three. Boston’s ninth-ranked prospect finished 1-for-3 and is batting .292 this spring. Right-hander Durbin Feltman (No. 12) walked one and struck out two during one inning out of the bullpen. Box score

Pirates 11, Phillies 2

Pirates No. 25 prospect Kevin Newman enjoyed a big day at the dish, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs and a stolen base. In the fourth, the 25-year-old ripped a run-scoring double to center field and scored on Starling Marte‘s two-bagger two batters later. The next inning he singled to right but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double by Aaron Altherr. Newman cracked a two-run homer to left off Edubray Ramos in the seventh. Pirates No. 24 Nick Burdi retired the side in order in the seventh with a pair of punchouts. Box score

Marlins 12, Astros 6

Third-ranked Astros prospect Yordan Alvarez went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. No. 16 prospect Myles Straw singled once in two at-bats, and 15th-ranked Brandon Bielak allowed two hits and struck out in two scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Marlins No. 20 prospect Riley Ferrell walked one and struck out two in a hitless eighth inning. Box score

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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