Right field still a work in progress
Nationals right fielders enter tonight batting .159, and they will try to improve that with Willy Taveras, a player currently batting .133. The Nationals rank dead last in batting average from their right field position and 28th with a .603 on-base plus slugging percentage. The lack of production, though, has not dampened Manager Jim Riggleman's optimism about the platoon.
"Concern is probably a little bit too strong a word for it," Riggleman said. "I like the contribution we get. I know we don't have a prototypical right fielder. But whenever I put Willie [Harris] out there, whenever I put [Roger] Bernadina out there, I feel something good is going to happen. I know we're going to play good defense. We're going to throw the ball to the right base."
Recently, Bernadina has been receiving the brunt of playing time, especially against right-handed starting pitchers. After going 0 for 4 last night, Bernadina is batting .212 with a .499 OPS. The Nationals believe Bernadina possesses the raw ability to become a reliable everyday player, and they want to give him a chance to prove it.
"He's had some days where it looks like, 'Okay, he's get ready to take off here.' And then the next day he'll swing at a bad pitch or something," Riggleman said. "It's too small a sample so far to judge it. Bernie is a special athlete. We want to get something out of those guys. We want to find out. It's been too few at-bats, but the other side of it is they're not kids. It's time to make a move there."
Bernadina's playing time has come at the expense of Harris, the other left-handed hitting candidate. Part of the reason, Riggleman said, is that he values Harris's versatility off the bench.
"It is a dilemma," Riggleman said. "It's a nice dilemma. But every now and then it gets in a guy's head a little bit, gets suffering a little bit, not getting enough at-bats. You've got to try to put them out there as best you can."
Riggleman considered playing Cristian Guzman in right field for today's game in order to give Alberto Gonzalez a rare start at second base. But Riggleman decided ultimately the windy conditions at Citi Field offered too large of a risk to play Guzman, an inexperienced outfielder.
May 11, 2010; 6:47 PM ET
| Tags: Right fielder, Roger Bernadina, Willie Harris, Willy Taveras
Save & Share: Previous: John Lannan's pitch count Thursday
Next: Game 33 discussion thread: Nationals at Mets
Posted by: markfd | May 11, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: punchdaclock | May 12, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: dabagley | May 12, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.