Mike Rizzo on the Nationals right field situation
For the most part this season, the Nationals have used Willie Harris, Justin Maxwell and Roger Bernadina to replace Elijah Dukes in right field. While the Nationals have received minimal offensive production from their right fielders this season, General Manager Mike Rizzo said he is content with the position and expressed his hope to find out what, exactly, the Nationals have in Bernadina and Maxwell, who was just sent down to Class AAA. Rizzo expressed no desire to upgrade the position through an acquisition from outside the organization.
"We're certainly going to give our young players a chance to win the job on an everyday basis," Rizzo said. "We've seen a lot of good things in Roger. [Maxwell], when he was up here had flashes of good stuff. We feel good about the position. We're going to find out what these players can do, not only for the rest of 2010, but for beyond."
Nationals right fielders have hit .167 this season with a combined .630 on-base plus slugging percentage, which ranks them last and 28th, respectively. Their defense has been improved, particularly when Harris or Maxwell play. Harris has a 24.3 UZR/150 as a right fielder, while Maxwell had a 31.5 UZR/150 before being sent down.
"From where we came from, we think we have a better chance of winning games with the outfield situation that we have now than we had in the past," Rizzo said. "We play much better defense, and the productivity hasn't fallen off."
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