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On Friday, he entered Nationals Park as a member of the blue and orange - after he was DFA'd by the Toronto Blue Jays.
“It’s weird [to be in DC]. It’s been a crazy month, for sure," the new Mets reliever said. "But I’m happy to be here, and just trying to help any way I can.”
Hand said it "came down to the wire" between the Mets and Nationals in the offseason, saying that Washington was "a better fit for me at the time." Hand denied that the opportunity to close for the Nationals played a role in his decision,
“I didn’t really necessarily care what inning I pitched in. I’ve never been a guy where I have to pitch the ninth inning. I just wanted to pitch, and I just felt like it was a better fit for me at the time, but I’m happy to be here now.”
Hand pitched to a 3.59 ERA with the Nats, but blew five saves (he converted 21). After he was traded to Toronto, he allowed at least two runs in three of his 11 outings, and his ERA went up to 4.21.
“It hasn’t been great. I’ve had outings where I felt right and then outings where it just wasn’t clicking or stuff wasn’t right. ... Health wise, everything feels good, everything feels right. I just haven’t been able to get in the groove and get things rolling, but hopefully I’ll be able to get that thing going here," he said.
From 2016 to 2020 with the San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians, Hand struck out 12.2 batters per nine innings, owned a WHIP of 1.07, and allowed 96 earned runs in 320.0 innings (2.70 ERA). The lefty still thinks he's "the same guy."
"My body feels great, everything feels good. It’s just, the results haven’t necessarily been there. I’ve been just working hard and trying to get better every day – that’s what you do as an athlete and as a competitor. Just trying to get better, and hopefully things will turn around.”