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The tough draws continue for Willie Harris

Willie Harris will start today for the first time since April 23, a layoff owing partly to his banged-up right knee and partly to a crowded right field platoon. The Nationals have been leaning with higher frequency on the young tandem of Justin Maxwell and Roger Bernadina, making Harris more of a bench player recently.

Harris remains a choice Manager Jim Riggleman likes to use against elite right-handed pitchers, which sometimes leads to difficult matchups for Harris. Today will be Harris's 10th start this season. In half of those, he'll have faced Roy Halladay, Mike Pelfrey, Yovani Gallardo, Ubaldo Jimenez and, today, Josh Johnson.

Between infrequent playing time and those opponents, it's no wonder Harris is hitting .158. Still, he's drawn seven walks and contributed solid at-bats. Harris seen 4.19 pitches per plate appearance, second behind Maxwell (4.36) among Nationals with at least 30 appearances.

"Sometimes, Willie is kind of the odd man out when we try to get some of the younger guys some at-bats," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "But Willie is a great option to have. It's tough some times when you ask him to go in there against some of the tougher guys on the other team's rotation. But he always seems to have a good ballgame."

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 2, 2010; 12:32 PM ET
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Hard to figure Willies lack of playing time. Seems all he ever does is make a game saving catch or get the clutch hit when he plays.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 2, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

If he's seeing that many pitches and getting on some against those pitchers, why not bat him 2d? How does Kennedy compare? .192 / .254 / .308 for AK is worse than Willie split v RHP - .133 / .308 / .400. His OBP = Kennedy's split SLG.

This obsession with batting average rather than plate discipline is backwards.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | May 2, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

GHF Department: Elite opposing pitchers continue to have the tough draw of facing Super Willie. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 3, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

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