Roger Bernadina joins the Nationals
Perhaps the only thing that could slow down red-hot Roger Bernadina right now is lack of sleep.
After being recalled by the Washington Nationals from Class AAA Syracuse on Tuesday, Bernadina, currently one of the best hitters in the minors, arrived in Chicago at 6 a.m. on Wednesday for the third of a three-game against the Cubs. He said he only slept one hour, but he purchased an energy drink to give him a boost.
But in Bernadina, the Nationals could also receive a lift. He not only represents an extra body on a worn-down bench, but he is swinging the bat well and will bat in the No. 6 hole behind Josh Willingham on Wednesday. Also, Bernadina will have a chance to prove himself in Washington's ever-changing right field.
"It's good to be back," Bernadina said. "It's a good thing. "
Bernadina credited his strong performance at the plate in Syracuse -- through 14 games, he was batting .377 with 2 homer runs and 8 RBI -- with his work in spring training with Rick Eckstein, the Nationals' hitting coach. Eckstein shortened Bernadina's swing and has helped the outfielder train on details of each pitch.
"Whenever I stay short, I'm going to have more better success," Bernadina said of his swing. "In the big leagues, those guys got a lot of movement, they know how to pitch. You stay short, you can get more chances to get a hit out of it. That's what I've been doing."
Bernadina, who was added after reliever Jesse English was optioned to Syracuse, said he did not know how long he would be with the big-league club.
The Nationals are facing right-handed starting pitchers in all three games of their upcoming series at Florida against the Marlins, which makes the left-handed batting Bernadina a valuable asset. Manager Jim Riggleman said Bernadina would not face left-handed pitching.
Bernadina also adds an interesting dynamic in right field, a position which has seen six different players so far this season. Bernadina, who has also been solid defensively in Syracuse, will start in right field on Wednesday. Riggleman said the position was "up for grabs, you'd like to see someone latch on and take it."
As for Bernadina, Riggleman said: "I guess I'd just like to see him get good at-bats and continue what he was doing at Syracuse. He was playing well there, running the bases well, playing good defense. He was doing it all."
"We've always seen that athleticism," Riggleman continued. "Hopefully it translates into the same stuff in the big leagues."
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