The Washington Times - June 21, 2011, 07:18PM

Roger Bernadina has had ups and downs since being recalled from the minor leagues on May 7 but with three home runs in his last four games, Bernadina is finding his groove. He’s raised his average this season to .281 and the Nationals are hoping that the more consistent playing time he gets, the more productive he’ll be.

“He’s just played good,” said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. “He’s getting some hits both against lefties and righties, he’s playing smart, he’s attempting some bunts, he’s showing bunt enough to get some infielders in on him and the power that we saw last year has started to resurface.

SEE RELATED:


“We need to see a little bit of that. Even though he’s a one or two hitter in a perfect world, he’s such a strong young man that, he’s got to get some balls in the air now and then that get that backspin on them and get out because this right field right here is a great place for him.”

Riggleman said he plans to continue using Bernadina in the two-hole against right-handed pitching and, when the pitcher hits eighth, in the ninth spot. He could also bat leadoff but Jayson Werth has occupied that spot in the lineup recently. Either way, the Nationals are hoping for continued production out of Bernadina.

“He’s shown this before and you really get excited about it,” Riggleman said. “I think last year he was really moving toward hitting .280 and he really dropped back and the word tired got mentioned and all that. I told him, the strongest man in baseball, you can’t get tired. Physically, 4-500 at-bats cannot stop you from playing and you’ve got to maintain your ability to play everyday. The word tired should never creep in to Roger Bernadina playing left field or center field.”

– Nationals right-hander Chad Gaudin, who has been on the disabled list since April 27 with right shoulder soreness, will begin a rehab assignment sometime this week. The reports on his health have been good, Riggleman said, after he went through some neck irritation as well. The Nationals will have 30 days to activate Gaudin once he begins a rehab assignment.

Chien-Ming Wang is still in Florida, Riggleman said and there are no immediate plans to send him on a rehab assignment. He’s throwing three to four innings in Gulf Coast League games and then the test is to see whether he feels strong enough to throw a bullpen on schedule. 

– There are a lot of Nationals ties to Seattle with Michael Morse having been traded to the Nationals from the Mariners, former National Adam Kennedy playing infield for Seattle now and manager Jim Riggleman and bench coach John McLaren both having managed for the Mariners.

Riggleman spoke a little today about his memories from Seattle.

“Everybody’s turned over, really,” he said. “Ichiro is there and clubhouse guys they’re there. Great people, Chuck Armstrong, Howard Lincoln, they’re still upstairs with the ballclub. A lot of good people that I have some past with but the players on the field is (almost completely different).

As for Ichiro, thought, that Riggleman remembers well:

“He was just electrifiying. He’s an amazing guy. He’s 37 maybe now but can still fly, gets hits in ways you just can’t imagine. It’s amazing. Some of the places the ball goes and he gets hits and then he’ll square one up and hit it as far as anybody alive. He’s an amazing guy and his preparation is just off the charts.”