Nationals trade infielder Danny Espinosa to Angels

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Sunday December 11th, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels acquired Danny Espinosa from the Washington Nationals on Saturday night, picking up their new starting second baseman in a trade for two minor league pitchers.

The Angels sent right-handers Austin Adams and Kyle McGowin to the Nationals for Espinosa, who presumably lost his starting job in Washington when the team obtained outfielder Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

Washington traded three top pitching prospects to Chicago for Eaton, with the intention of shifting NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Trea Turner from center field back to shortstop, his natural position.

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The 29-year-old Espinosa hit .209 with a career-high 24 home runs and 72 RBIs as Washington's regular shortstop last season, helping the team win the NL East. He didn't play second base in 2016, but has played there extensively in the past.

In seven major league seasons, all with the Nationals, the switch-hitter has batted .226 with 92 homers and 285 RBIs.

The trade is a homecoming for Espinosa, born and raised a few miles from Angel Stadium in Santa Ana. He grew up attending games in Anaheim with his father, a longtime Angels season ticket holder.

Espinosa played at high school powerhouse Mater Dei and starred at Long Beach State before Washington drafted him in 2008.

Espinosa is expected to provide an upgrade at second base with some much-needed power from the left side of the plate. Los Angeles has received minimal production at the position since parting ways with longtime starter Howie Kendrick two seasons ago.

Los Angeles already has a two-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop in Andrelton Simmons, though his career OPS is just .671.

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