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Johnson, Hernandez, Mets Lineup

Because he'd missed roughly 90 percent of the previous two seasons with injuries, Nick Johnson, entering 2009, was planning to resume life as an everyday player with caution. Manager Manny Acta spoke about the importance of resting his first baseman, of making certain Johnson didn't overdo it. Even now, almost three weeks into the season, Acta admits that "we're going to try to monitor him the best way possible."

But the early returns on Johnson's comeback have redirected the conversation. Washington needs Johnson, hitting .370, in the lineup. And Johnson says he doesn't need rest.

"No," Johnson said today, shaking his head. "Nope, nope, nope."

Saturday, in the same city where his two previous major injuries occurred -- a leg fracture in 2006, a wrist injury in 2008 -- Johnson started for the 14th time in 16 games. That consistency is partly attributable to the rash of early-season off-days and rainouts. But it's also a credit to Johnson, whose average ranks fifth in the National League, and who's ripping the ball to all corners of the field. His home run on Friday night against Johan Santana was a screaming liner down the left-field line, an opposite field shot.

"I just think he's in a good position, and he's getting real comfortable with where he's at. I think power is a byproduct of comfort," hitting coach Rick Eckstein said. "He's got a good approach, and his ability to stay through a ball and use the whole field is tremendous."

Now that the Nationals begin an arduous stretch -- they don't have another off day until May 14 -- Johnson will rest here and there. Acta plans to keep Johnson on the bench tomorrow, when the Nationals face left-hander Oliver Perez, who is tricky for left-handed batters.

"I'm going to give him the day off tomorrow against Perez," Acta said. "But, we need him in the lineup."

*

Dating back to April 17, second baseman Anderson Hernandez is just 3-for-26. Those who've watched his at bats notice a flaw: Hernandez, when swinging, is failing to keep his head still.

"We've been addressing that with him the last three days," Acta said. "He's overswinging a little bit, and his head is flying open."

Said Eckstein: "Prior to yesterday's game during early work that was one of the things we tried to work on. It's repetition. The drill work is putting emphasis on that aspect - keeping your head still, keeping your head down."

*

Ahh, and the New York lineup -- late-order variety...

Reyes -- 6
Murphy -- 7
Beltran -- 8
Delgado -- 3
Wright -- 5
Church -- 9
Santos -- 2
Castillo -- 4
Pelfrey -- 1

By Chico Harlan  |  April 25, 2009; 1:08 PM ET
 
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Next: Ugly, Ugly, Ugly

Comments

Charlie and Dave said something yesterday about Manuel not being too sure about Church this year so Tatis would get more starts or something like that. Is there a story behind this?

Posted by: NatsNut | April 25, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Those who've watched his at bats notice a flaw:" He sucks?

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | April 25, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

If Zimmerman's not grounding into double plays, he's flying into them.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | April 25, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Put your shades on Dukes. If he had shagged some balls earlier, he would have done that involuntarily.

Posted by: Brue | April 25, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Can't watch today because i'm in my office here in ATL. Who was doubled off on Zimm's fly and why wasn't the runner half way.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 25, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

HEY Dukes the glasses don't on top of your HEAD

Posted by: CBinDC | April 25, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Herndandez was doubled off - it was a sliding catch, and he had been running with the pitch.

Posted by: BGinVA | April 25, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

That play by Dukes was, dare I say, Milledge-esque.

Posted by: Section220 | April 25, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. Errors will be the death of this team.

Posted by: BinM | April 25, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I see you in you in your Dukes shirt Lastings! You're not fooling anyone!

Posted by: soundbloke | April 25, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I hate watching David Wright. Really illustrates the difference between a 'face of a franchise' and 'journeyman'.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 25, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Let's just open an artery & call in Rivera.

Posted by: BinM | April 25, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Cabrera seems to be weighing in on the Pedro sweepstakes. Nice to see his input.

Posted by: janus4444 | April 25, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

What?

***********
Put your shades on Dukes. If he had shagged some balls earlier, he would have done that involuntarily.

Posted by: Brue | April 25, 2009 1:35 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 25, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

soundbloke:

Isn't "journeyman" a little harsh a term for D.Wright?

Posted by: BinM | April 25, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm just finding it really hard to root for this team, but I'll keep going. Things better start changing soon though.

Posted by: amorris525 | April 25, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

you should have seen them *last* year, amorris--this IS the improved version.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 25, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I just don't get it. They have every reason to be playing so much better than this.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 25, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

BinM, agreed about Wright, but I'm still confused. Why is watching either one a problem? Journeyman is good. Journeyman is a competent pro, a proven veteran. Srsly, I don't understand, soundbloke.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 25, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

When the heck is Guzman coming back? I know he is on the 15 day DL, but is he going to be ready then? I remember after the rainout it was said he might not even miss again... what a debacle this is. So typical.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | April 25, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Natsnut, last inning Dibble (another promising thing, btw) mentioned that they have no team captain, and maybe they needede one. While not criticizing, he was necessarily implying they lack established clubhouse leadership. I think that would explain a great deal. Dunn was supposed to help there, and maybe he will, eventually. It's part of the organizational culture, winning or losing. But they don't look like they're thinking Yes We Can, do they?

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 25, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

>I just don't get it. They have every reason to be playing so much better than this.

They don't practice. There's no communication or reinforcement from Acta about what's expected from each individual. That's a big league manager's job - to find out what makes each guy produce. These guys are merely relying on their own talents to get by.

Here again, Nick throws the ball away because they never practice. They just look like a sloppy team in general.

Posted by: Brue | April 25, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

ooooh, that's it. I'm outta here.
Nicky, Nicky, Nicky ...

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 25, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Is Cabrera done in the third? Seriously...

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 25, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

BinM

Sorry to be obscure. I was pointing out that Wright plays like a FOTF and Zimm like a journeyman.

When you see a guy like Wright play you realize how over-hyped our boy Zimm is.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 25, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@NN:

No, I'm afraid they "are what they are". At least one player will go brain-dead in any given game - It's just a question as to whether or not they're on the field during that game.

The question is, do they just leave Cabrera in to eat innings and get bludgeoned, or do they reach to the bullpen & burn multiple pitchers. (answer = Bullpen - Bergmann in for Cabrera after 86 pitches over 2-1/3IP).

Posted by: BinM | April 25, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I've been watching them since the beginning. It's just getting old. Oh how I wish it were 2005 again. At least they had some heart.

Posted by: amorris525 | April 25, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Apropos playing the Mets today.
Can't anybody here play this game? - Casey Stengel 1962

Posted by: jimbo1949 | April 25, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@sound:

Sorry the sarcasm of my reply missed the mark.

Posted by: BinM | April 25, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I changed my mind it's the

Gonzalez-to-Wright-to-DelGado

Posted by: Brue | April 25, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

It's not good when Bergmann's hitting. Weren't he and Cabrera rivals last year for worst hitter in MLB (except Cabrera didn't actually have to bat very much)?

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 25, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

yes, i agree. they don't look like they *believe* they can win.

nice inning Bergy!

Posted by: NatsNut | April 25, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Debbi Taylor should have asked Mark Lerner if he still thinks the Mets should regret signing Santana, like he told Boz and Chico last year. Santana--what a waste of money! Ha ha ha ha ha.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 25, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

i'm curious which teams have a team captain and which don't, and how players feel about it either way.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 25, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

ok, boys, listen to me. 2 on and no out. this is when you drive them....sigh...never mind. double play while i was mid-sentence.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 25, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Way to do it Dukies!

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | April 25, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Dukes was directly responsible for 2 runs scoring, he made those up... indirectly he is responsible for 3 runs though, so he needs to slap in at least one more RBI.

We can still win this game, and if we do, let me just say that it will be HUGE for the teams psyche.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | April 25, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I give up.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | April 25, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Good question, NatsNut. I was also wondering whether the Nats still have a kangaroo court.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 25, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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