Nats try to get Adam Kennedy more involved
Among the more pressing assignments for Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman has been trying to get middle infielder Adam Kennedy more consistent chances to contribute. But with the club primarily using Cristian Guzman at second and at times at shortstop in place of Ian Desmond, finding opportunities for Kennedy hasn't been easy.
Kennedy is an asset because of his ability to play virtually every infield position except catcher. This season he has played first, second and third base for the Nationals, including making several skillful plays at first in last night's 7-6 victory over the San Diego Padres. Kennedy began the game at second but moved to first in the top of ninth, with Alberto Gonzalez inserted at second.
Being able to trust a middle infielder to handle first base late in games is a luxury Riggleman is not about to overlook.
"Adam, he's really done a good job," Riggleman said. "As I've said earlier, when I was predominantly playing Guzman at second, and you know we like to play [Desmond] at short for the most part, Adam really got out of the flow more than I should have let him get."
Riggleman said these days he is more dedicated to finding a place for Kennedy in the lineup, which may help the 12-year veteran increase his production at the plate. This season Kennedy is batting .240 with two homers and 16 RBI. Guzman and Desmond, meantime, are hitting .297 and .261, respectively.
Kennedy, however, has improved considerably against left-handed pitching this season, going 8 for 22 so far for a .364 average. In his previous 11 seasons against left-handers, Kennedy has not hit above .296. Kennedy also is second on the Nationals with nine steals.
"As we've been able to get him more involved, he's getting a lot better at-bats," Riggleman said. "He's doing a great job for us in a lot of subtle ways, things that don't show up in the box score. He does a lot of good things for the ballclub, a very unselfish guy. Just very confident with him out there."
July 8, 2010; 4:16 PM ET
Categories: Adam Kennedy , Cristian Guzman , Ian Desmond , middle infield
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