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Roger Bernadina's catch brought memories, not fear

In the fifth inning last night, Colby Rasmus crushed a Craig Stammen sinker to deep center field. Roger Bernadina bolted back to the warning track, approaching the fence. He had not done this in a major league game since last April, when a similar fly ball resulted in the biggest road block of his career.

"When I was running, for a second, I thought about it," Bernadina said. "When I was close to the wall, I thought about it for a second."

Bernadina was playing center field in the majors for the first time since April 18, 2009, when he made the first start in a season that, he hoped, would solidify him as a major leaguer. He had been in the majors for three days, a starter only because Elijah Dukes had showed up late.

In the eighth inning that day, Dan Uggla drove a deep fly ball to center. Bernadina raced to the fence and made a dazzling catch while crashing into the wall. He crumpled to the ground and did not get up. He had to be carried off the field. His ankle was broken, his season over.

Bernadina, 25, received a second chance to entrench himself in the majors this season, and so far he has taken advantage. While providing steady defense as virtually the everyday right fielder, he's hit .304 with a .360 on-base percentage and a .478 slugging percentage. But until last night, when Nyjer Morgan had the game off, Bernadina had not stepped back into center field at a major league ballpark.

And in the fifth inning, Bernadina had a test: Could he make the play that once sidetracked his career?

"Let me say this," Bernadina said. "I'm not scared to go out there and hit the wall again. If it happens, it happens. I just go out there 100 percent. I'm not going to change anything. Keep on doing what I've been doing."

Bernadina glided to the track, all the way against the fence. Drifting next to the 400-foot mark, Bernadina slammed into the wall, reached up and snared the ball. This time, he took one step and threw the ball back to the infield. When he walked back to his position, he smiled.

"If I have to run into the wall again," Bernadina said, "I'll do it again."

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 18, 2010; 12:50 PM ET
 
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Comments

You play this game with fear and arrogance.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 18, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris has made some great catches, but I think maybe Bernadina gets to that ball in the first inning more often than Willie. Whole different game if that's caught.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 18, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Of course, that leads to the question, would Nyjer have caught the ball in center? I think he usually would.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 18, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was fear and ignorance.

Posted by: Bethesdangit1 | May 18, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Roger's got a great attitude and is on his way to being an excellent outfielder btw did anyone see mlb highlight's and the adventure's of Lastings Miledge in LF vs.the Cub's, very ugly, also Hanley Ramierez and Freddy Gonzalez are at war Gonzalez pulled Hanley from the game for nor hustling(Billy vs.Reggie) and afterward Ramierez basically insulted Gonzalez by telling the media that Freddy has never played an inning of major league baseball, and when the beat writer for the Marlins asked him a question about Gonzalez, Hanley responded with who's that? and it continues today because Ramierez is not in the lineup vs.the Diamondbacks, stay tuned.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 18, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I still don't have a good read on The Flying Bernadina and I was amazed that even looking at his stats I'm not sure what type of guy he can be.

The two knowns for me is that he's an on-base guy (everywhere that he's seen extended playing time) and he's got speed on the base paths.

Hopefully a good 50-game look or so will prove that he can be that type of player with the Nats.

My fear is that he gets continually shuffled with Morse, Harris, Maxwell and we don't know what the Nats have with any of those guys (with the exception of Harris).

Posted by: rnkorby | May 18, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

FYI, Baseball America (click the link on the left) has a Q&A with Harper that you can access without subscribing.

Posted by: Bethesdangit1 | May 18, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

dargramps:
Weren't there some clubhouse conflict rumours with Ramirez last year as well? IIRC, Uggla called him out for either dogging it in the field, or for stroking an injury.

Posted by: BinM | May 18, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

More Philly fan news.


Below is a cut and past from the story at this link:
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Car-of-Canadiens-reporter-vandalized-after-Game-?urn=nhl,241757

The latest example played out as the Eastern Conference finals series between the Flyers and Montreal Canadiens kicked off in Philadelphia on Sunday night, as Montreal Gazette sports writer Pat Hickey had his car -- a 1999 Honda Accord with 565,000 km and Quebec license plates -- vandalized during Game 1.

Hickey returned to his car after the game to find a tire slashed, a hubcap broken in two and his windows covered in beer. The worst offense? His license plate had been stolen, causing Hickey to spend part of Monday in a Philadelphia police department filing a theft report.

Posted by: Sunderland | May 18, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Morgan and Bernadina need a mentor ala Pudge for the pitching staff. I wonder how much of Grissoms ear did Morgan have last year. With all the experience in the dugout the one thing lacking is a coach who use to seal a lot of bases. This is why I wish the Nats would go after a older OF who could be a mentor. Juan Pierre would be the logical choice. The three of them who translate to a lot of speed in the outfield, also Pierre could teach them the art of being a good lead off hitter or number two. this would benefit Desi's base running as well.

Think of this havoc on the base paths:

1.Pierre
2.Morgan
3.Desi
4.Zimm
5.Dunn


Posted by: hansenjo | May 18, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Harper:

"I had to realize that baseball is a game of failure and it's going to humble you. There's going to be times where you're not going to get hits, but you can do other things on the field that are going to help your team win."

Seems to me he has a good outlook on the game. I don't think a bad character guy would say that.

Posted by: chillsonic | May 18, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The Nats gotta start playing Roger everyday! He's starting to swing bat and we know what he can do in the field.

Posted by: richs91 | May 18, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

hansenjo: Thanks, you have solved a puzzle for me as to who was coaching first base last year and why Morgan was more succesful last year after arriving from the Pirates, Marquis Grissom, i said it in a post last week that i think it's the first base coach who's responsible for Morgan's lack of success and i also think Grissom had a lot to do with Morgan being a better hitter, you hit the nail on the head with your mention of the mentoring process in the majors that's why StanK get's a big "F" for not bringing F.Robby back to this franchise to mentor the younger guy's on and off the field,i mean who better then Frank who's had success at every level in the majors as a player.Frank Robinson would have been the perfect person to keep Elijah Dukes in the majors and on this club.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 18, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

>>Harper: Seems to me he has a good outlook on the game. I don't think a bad character guy would say that.

Harper is fine. He's just a kid and he's ultra talented. All that other stuff was probably put out there by a competing team that wants him.
Look the Nats are gonna draft him and for once I even have faith that they will actually sign him. And he will be a great outfielder for us for many years.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

>>Look the Nats are gonna draft him and for once I even have faith that they will actually sign him

Yeah, I think its in the bag.

Posted by: chillsonic | May 18, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

>>Hanley Ramierez

(In best Keenan voice) What up wit dat? Never seen an MLB player dog it like that. That's just crazy. And the guy is so good too. Really strange.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

RE:Think of this havoc on the base paths:

1.Pierre
2.Morgan
3.Desi
4.Zimm
5.Dunn
Posted by: hansenjo |

I hope not...play a catcher like that one in Colorado and all that speed doesn't do much at all for 4 games.

I'd rather play like Philly and St. Louis...hit, run, pitch, defend...and generally win about 6 of 10 games all the time. We are a long way from that - still making too many fundamental mistakes in advancing runners, walking people at the wrong time, and guys just not hitting...we are still too soft in a number of positions.

Posted by: outrbnksm | May 18, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Yes, BinM.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/florida-marlins/sfl-marlins-ramirez-uggla-090209,0,7887468.story

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 18, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Elsewhere Harper is reported to have said: I just want to go out and help the ball club. Baseball is a funny game: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes . . . it rains.

(now back to you, Sofa)
_________________________________
Harper:

"I had to realize that baseball is a game of failure and it's going to humble you. There's going to be times where you're not going to get hits, but you can do other things on the field that are going to help your team win."

Seems to me he has a good outlook on the game. I don't think a bad character guy would say that.

Posted by: chillsonic | May 18, 2010 1:57 PM

Posted by: lowcountry | May 18, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Oswalt, Strasburg, Lannan, Zimmermann, Marquis, Wang, Olsen. That would be a good problem to have. Also, Carl Crawford.

Nearing the quarter pole circa .500, despite some starting pitching woes (Marquis, Lannan to a lesser extent) and a sometimes sputtering offense that seems likely to heat up. I think we'd all take that in a heartbeat given the alternatives.

Posted by: BobLHead | May 18, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I watch this game with beer and ignorance.

-----

You play this game with fear and arrogance.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 18, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Good one, JiM.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 18, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I second that emotion. t-shirt, anyone?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 18, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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