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Nationals still deciding on Roger Bernadina

At times this season, Roger Bernadina has seized the chance the Nationals gave him this year and seemingly proved himself an everyday player. At other times, his play has only served to make the Nationals wonder if he'll be a major part of their future or a tertiary piece.

At one point in late June, Bernadina was hitting .291/.354/.456 for the season. His totals after a prolonged slump are down to .253/.311/.394. Since Aug. 31, Bernadina is 8 for 59 with just one extra base hit, a double, six walks and 14 strikeouts.

"He's scuffling results-wise," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "The game is not physically demanding on him. He's just a physical specimen. He could be playing football. The guy is not going to be worn down physically.

"The grind is mental. He's had some ups and downs. He's had times where he's really looked like he's ready to go to the next level. Then he'll get in a little funk where he's struggling. He's passionate about it. He doesn't say much, but he's really upset with himself when he makes outs. He's worked very hard."

The Nationals wanted to use 2010 to determine if Bernadina could be relied upon as an everyday outfielder in 2011. With less than two weeks remaining, they still aren't quite sure. Bernadina is 26, but his relative lack of experience makes some believe he has untapped potential. Some scouts see his best-case scenario as an Angel Pagan-type of player, an athletic player without much experience who blooms late.

"The clock is ticking," Riggleman said. "He's had to show us he's a player this year. He has shown us that. Is there more in there? Certainly. He's better than what he's shown, but he's shown quite a bit."

The Nationals have recently given Bernadina more chances to hit against lefties, and in limited time he's shown he can do it. Bernadina is 12 for 43 against left-handed pitchers (.279) with two homers, two doubles and a triple. He'll face lefty J.A. Happ tonight.

"He's a guy we're trying to get as much information on as we can, because we've got to see about next year," Riggleman said. "Do we anoint him as one of our three outfielders, or do we have to look further?"

By Adam Kilgore  | September 21, 2010; 6:48 PM ET
 
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Comments

What is there to decide? You've got Maxwell and Harris still around with below .200 batting averages, you've got to be kidding me....

Posted by: bromisky | September 21, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

The only decision that is certain is that he is not a #5 hitter in any lineup. He's good enough to play in any OF position, and of an age to make him worth either hanging onto, or to move as a piece in a larger trade.

Posted by: BinM | September 21, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I think it really depends on where they use him. If they put him in CF then his numbers are fine, but if they put him in RF they either need to find a CF with pop. Especially if they lose Dunn. I don't see him having enough power to play a corner outfield spot. Of course if Espinosa can generate the pop he has shown that may off-set some.

Posted by: brothbart | September 21, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Bernadino is making a solid case to take Willie Harris' spot as 4th OF. Morse has made a stronger case to play a corner OF spot or be the other OF off the bench. Maybe he and Bernadino can share RF. If the Nats are serious they'll go out and get at least one everyday OF, preferably a CF.

By the way, how can anyone project a lineup with Espinosa as a regular part of it at this stage? He's headed for Willie Harris territory in a big rush right now. If anything, he is doing everything he can to prove he needsa year at AAA to polish his hitting.

Posted by: lesatcsc | September 21, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Sorry brothbart, have to disagree w/ you. a .315 OBP is not good enough for any position. Bernie is lost lately and making a strong case for a role as either the 4th OF or the starter in Syracuse. Morse meanwhile continues to hit like a big leaguer. And he continues to be my biggest frustration w/ Riggleman/Rizzo. Even after his sump he is still at .349 OBP and .500 SLG!!! What the hell does a guy have to do around here to become a starter??

If we went off actual results then the OF next year would be Willingham and Morse at the corners and try Morgan in CF w/ Bernie the 4th.

But agree w/ whoever said we need to sign a real OF in the offseason. Willingham and Morse are the only two that put up big league numbers this year. Everyone else was either bad or wildly inconsistent.

Posted by: Avar | September 22, 2010 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Am I crazy, or has Bernadina soared beyond Morgan this season? When does the management start wondering about whether Morgan is a piece of the future or not?? Never seem to see Riggleman or Rizzo wonder aloud about Nyjer. I often wonder where "we" are headed. Or at least how about a Bernadina/Morse platoon strictly based on the lefty/righty arm that they're facing a la Roenicke/Lowenstein.

Posted by: natsfan7 | September 22, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Am I crazy, or has Bernadina soared beyond Morgan this season? When does the management start wondering about whether Morgan is a piece of the future or not?? Never seem to see Riggleman or Rizzo wonder aloud about Nyjer. I often wonder where "we" are headed. Or at least how about a Bernadina/Morse platoon strictly based on the lefty/righty arm that they're facing a la Roenicke/Lowenstein.

Posted by: natsfan7 | September 22, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

natsfan7,

Rizzo (and by extension Riggleman) have consistently been saying that the CF job is Nyjer's. Rizzo in effect has said that the "real" Nyjer is the fellow who put up the 2009 stats (Pitts and Washington combined), not the impostor we've been watching this year. Rizzo has implied that Nyjer would have to prove to him next year that he is NOT the 2009 Nyjer before he'll give up on him.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 22, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

I go away for a while, come back and this team has imploded like a soufflé. ARE THEY #&#*&^%& CRAZY???? Berni has been the only bright spot all year. Sure Desi has been good but he has a million errors. Berni has done more than they have asked him to do this year. Rizzo should steal your qoute you jackass. This should come from Rizzo. "Do we anoint him our manager, or do we have to look further?

Posted by: hansenjo | September 22, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Knight was showing frame by frame how much Bernadina's head moves forward when he's hitting, and it's a lot. He's got all kinds of problems right now, he's rushing his whole body forward with that big leg kick. Guy needs a re-vamp to his swing. I personally think that Eckstein is useless, I don't think they listen to him, if he's even trying to talk to the players about anything substantive.

Posted by: Brue | September 22, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

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