Nationals Newsletter featuring Mason Thompson


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“Welcome to the Nationals Beat newsletter! This is your stop for the latest on and off the field, from news to exclusive player interviews and insights brought to you by club reporter Jessica Camerato. New for 2023: This newsletter will arrive in your inbox on Wednesday and Sunday.

Mason Thompson has a quiet demeanor. Yet when the 6-foot-6, 244-pound right-handed reliever gets on the mound, his pitching speaks loud and clear.

Thompson posted zeros on Tuesday when he threw two innings against the Orioles in relief of Josiah Gray. He recorded a strikeout and did not allow a hit, run or walk.

“He’s looked really, really good this year,” said Gray, “and I’m super happy for him.”

In eight appearances this season, Thompson is 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA and 0.60 WHIP across 13 1/3 frames. Six of his outings have been scoreless, and five have been multiple innings, including a career-high-tying three innings against the Rays.

Get to know about Thompson, 25, who was acquired from the Padres at the 2021 Trade Deadline.

Cowboy hat connoisseur:Thompson’s hat collection has expanded each season since he’s been with the Nationals. From day-to-day wear to special occasions, Thompson has a bevy of cowboy hats to choose from.

“[I have] probably eight or so,” Thompson said. “I’ve got a bunch of different colors -- black, brown, tan, gray, several straw hats -- and I’m probably looking to add to the collection. (Laughs) … The one that’s maybe most meaningful is the one that I wear when I’m just out hunting. It’s my dirty, knock around hat. I probably wear that one the most, I like that one a lot.”

Student of the game: Thompson spent time between the Nationals and Triple-A last season, including a rehab assignment for a right biceps strain that sidelined him on the 60-day injured list. Manager Dave Martinez noted how Thompson implemented the Nats’ to-do list each stint.

“[I have learned about] his willingness to make change and to compete,” said Martinez. “He’s made some strides and changes, especially last year. Every time … we sent him down with a task and something different to do to help him, he’s come back and made those changes. Now, he’s pounding the strike zone, his slider’s much better, his fastball is electric -- it really is, it moves quite a bit when he wants it to. He can also throw a four-seam when he wants to.

“But he was so eager to learn, so eager to get better and now he’s doing the things that we felt like he can do -- and do a lot of it. We asked him to do multiple innings, we asked him to just come in to pitch one inning, come into high-leverage situations -- and he’s done it and he wants to continue to do it.

“He’s a very quiet kid, but very passionate about what he does and how he does things. So I love him. I can’t say enough about what he’s gone through. He’s had some arm issues in the past, he works hard in the training room to keep himself healthy. But he’s always on-point. When you give him a task, he’s going to get it done.””

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