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Willie Harris becoming odd man out

Willie Harris is not in the lineup today, which is nothing new. He's made one start since May 18, his last time in the lineup coming May 21. He has three at-bats since May 22, inconsistent playing that in part explains his .177 batting average.

Manager Jim Riggleman made the point that every team has one or two players who receive scant playing time. Harris, who started in right field opening day, happens to be that player on the Nationals. "Willie and Alberto Gonzalez get the short end of the stick more than anybody else," Riggleman said. "If I'm worried about everyone being happy, everyone will be happy and we'll lose a lot of ballgames."

Harris, primarily a corner outfielder, has fallen victim to Josh Willingham's elite start to the year and Roger Bernadina's emergence. The Nationals want to determine Bernadina's future role on the team, and Harris feels the effects.

"We're trying to get a long look at Bernadina," Riggleman said. The Nationals "want to make a determination of what we have here in Roger Bernadina. Is he going to be the future in right field, or is there a different answer? I really don't think I can make that determination if I sit him often. Those are Willie's at-bats right here."

Harris is a versatile bench player who can also play third base and second base, two more positions that are obviously log-jammed. Harris has shown a penchant for clutch plays, having hit a walk-off single and made a diving, game-winning catch for the final out. But right now, Harris is not doing much more than watching.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 30, 2010; 3:52 PM ET
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I am sorry that Willie Harris is sitting, but his .177 average is as much a cause of that as a result.

I have another thought coming from scoreboard watching. I see that the Braves beat the Pirates today, unfortunately. Win or lose, thought, I look at Pirate games the same way every day. I want to see that Lastings Milledge was terrible, and that Ryan Church was good. As it is, neither of them even played today. That shows how far both have fallen.

In the end, the Pirates lost because Joel Hanrahan messed up. We are so ahead on the Capps trade that I don't need to see that, esepecially when it means the Braves win. I do think there is nothing wrong with following trades to hope that your team came out better in the end.


Posted by: kevincostello | May 30, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Agreed we are way ahead on the trade with the Pirates but Capps had nothing to do with that - Burnett/Morgan for Hanrahan/Milledge. I honestly can't think of one former Nat that I would like to have back as a position player. Might like to see Rauch in our bullpen but can't think of anyone else. Certainly don't want Guillen, Soriano, Church, Schneider or the oft injured Johnson(loved Nick, hated how much time he spent on IR) We signed Capps this winter as a free agent.
Need to win 3 in Houston!!

Posted by: sjm3091 | May 30, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, I would have minded keeping Jamey Carroll for the bench. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 31, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Dang. Would "not" have minded.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 31, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Not very knowledgeable about the specific negative physical effects, though I cannot think of any positive ones, either, but I cannot help but wonder if Harris (and Morgan) might do better if they weren't chawing on what looks like a half pound of poison in their mouths.

Posted by: daverose219 | May 31, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Totally agree on Jamey Carroll. He was my favorite original Nats and was really unhappy when he was sold to the Rockies.

Posted by: Sofie230 | May 31, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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