ATLANTA — At some point in the next three days, Tom Milone will join the Nationals and their starting rotation. And in the immediate days to follow more and more of his Triple-A teammates will find their way to Nationals Park as well. But don’t expect them to all arrive at the stroke of midnight on Sept. 1.
“I anticipate more of them coming after their season’s over,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said today.
Milone will lead the way, and start Saturday, but he’ll be joined quickly by right-hander Brad Peacock and infielder Steve Lombardozzi is all but sure to follow. Johnson said today that Roger Bernadina is also expected to be a part of that mix.
– Michael Morse made his fifth straight start in left field Wednesday night as the Nationals attempt to begin to prepare for a 2012 season that they assume first baseman Adam LaRoche will be healthy for. Morse, who came up as a shortstop and third baseman, was more than adequate as a first baseman in LaRoche’s absence but with the addition of Chris Marrero to the team, it gives the Nationals an opportunity to get Morse reacquainted with left field.
He’s been passable so far and, as Johnson pointed out, it hasn’t affected his hitting — which is the most important thing when it comes to Morse.
“I think he’s been average,” Johnson said. “I’m not worried about it. He’s getting more used to running more. He might have picked up a few pounds moving to the retirement home, first base. He’s not complaining, though.”
To that end, Morse was running up and down the steps in the stands at Turner Field early Wednesday afternoon, perhaps trying to get his legs back in shape after three-plus months at first base.
– The Nationals haven’t lacked for power in the month of August with 32 home runs, but it hasn’t always equated to success. Johnson is an offensive manager and he’ll be the first to tell you that he loves the three-run homer perhaps more than anyone except for Earl Weaver. But he’d like to see the Nationals adjust their approach a bit more at the plate.
“I like the guys to be swinging the bat,” Johnson said. “My criticism is we take too many called third strikes. Be aggressive. I like batters to go up there aggressively, be patiently aggressive and swing the bat.”