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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."

By Gene Wang  |  July 8, 2010; 4:16 PM ET
Categories:  Adam Kennedy , Cristian Guzman , Ian Desmond , middle infield  
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Next: Ryan Zimmerman finishes second in final All-Star vote


I wasn't too impressed by the way Kennedy loafed his way to first on the one ground ball. I hope Kennedy isn't the plan to play 1B should we move Dunn.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | July 8, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Dunn isn't good at first, but he's been okay this year. Why Riggleman takes out Dunn for one inning of Kennedy defensively at first is beyond me in one-run games. Kennedy's "glove" isn't worth us missing Dunn's bat should it go to extra innings.

Kennedy is about my least favorite Nat, BTW. If they trade Dunn and put Kennedy at first, SC, my season tickets the remaining year will all be on stub hub.

My midseason Nats report:

Posted by: CJArlington | July 8, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

As much as i've bashed Dunn this year i have to admit he has come through lately that being said Kennedy has been just so-so as we approach the all star break. I'll have to agree with CJ about the late inning switch and it almost backfired last night when AK almost muffed Hariston's smoker,i'd like to see a sweep tonite to give them some much needed "mo" as the Giant's come to town.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 8, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, dargreg. Also the thing about that nice play Kennedy made on the smoker is that the much taller Dunn probably would have handled it easier...

Posted by: CJArlington | July 8, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

They're showcasing him. It was no coincidence that he started on national TV last Sat.

Posted by: Brue | July 8, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand this "showcasing" thing. The guy's been in the league 12 years already. Other teams have scouts already. What's to "showcase"? Like there's a GM somewhere who hasn't heard of him? Srsly.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 8, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Go ahead and put your tickets up CJArlington, if you think by buying them you somehow have earned the right to manage like a kingdom this team dream on, the arrogance of you comment is as loud as the damn Tea Partiest worst followers,scream it,say it enough and it HAS to be true, how little baseball you understand. Kennedy's skills and versatility make him an invaluable asset to a NL team, maybe you rooted for the O's too long and forgot there is baseball without the DL.

Posted by: mfowler1 | July 8, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

So let's see - Arlington doesn't know baseball and you do because you launch into an ad hominum attack because he puts his opinion down on the board. What a sanctimonious prig you are. And thanks for bringing your politics into a baseball board. Oh yeah, Mr. Nats Journal Censor, you are right. There is baseball without the Disabled List.

Posted by: Natstoyou | July 8, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Sec3(sofa): I'm with you, in that there is no need to "showcase" Kennedy. However, there is a need to get him more plate appearances.
I'd like to see the team go back to a general platoon at 2B between Guz & Kennedy, with Kennedy getting starts against most opposing RHSP, and Guzman starting against LHSP & the occaisional RHSP. AGonz continues to get the occaisional start at both 2B & SS, and serves as a late-inning defender at 2B.

Posted by: BinM | July 8, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Kilgore writes...Nats try to get Adam Kennedy more involved.

GGG writes "WHY?"

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | July 8, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Can Kennedy play center?

Posted by: olduffer501 | July 8, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Can Kennedy play center field?

Posted by: olduffer501 | July 8, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

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