The Washington Times - May 7, 2011, 06:20PM

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Roger Bernadina is a member of the Nationals major league team for at least another 11 games — and he’s going to get every opportunity to play in as many of those 11 games as possible.

The Nationals have said repeatedly that they do not want Bernadina with the big league club unless he’s going to get consistent playing time. They know how athletic and talented he is, they want him to continue his progress by playing every day.


Right now, that will happen at the major league level. How he performs over these next few days will dictate what happens after that.

“We always like having Roger here,” said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. “He’s such a good athlete and we want to see him play. We didn’t really want Roger to be here in a siutation when he’s not playing. We want him playing. The bad news obviously is that Rick is doing a really good job for us in center field and we’ll be missing him for at least another week so we’re happy to have a talented replacement but we’ll miss Rick (Ankiel).”

With the Nationals not facing a left-handed pitcher for another six games if all of their opponents stay on turn and Bernadina will likely play center field in almost all six of those games. He could also see time in left field as Michael Morse continues to nurse a sore right knee.

“He’ll be out there one way or another,” Riggleman said. “Either in center or in left.”

Bernadina, who was sharing time in center field with Corey Brown but also played the corner outfield spots for Triple-A Syracuse, got his second call up of the season when Rick Ankiel was placed on the disabled list Friday night, retroactive to May 3, with a right wrist sprain. Bernadina was pulled from Syracuse’s game in North Carolina Friday night and arrived in Florida Saturday afternoon.  

The Nationals wasted no time in putting him to work, giving him the start at leadoff and in center field for Saturday night’s game against the Marlins and right-hander Chris Volstad. 

“It’s always good to be back,” he said. “I’m excited.”

It’s been a busy few weeks for Bernadina, who missed the first few days of the Triple-A season with a personal matter, was called up for two days in April when Ian Desmond went on paternity leave, and has now been shuttled between the big leagues and Triple-A twice. 

“It’s going all right,” Bernadina said of his season. “It’s not great, but I definitely think it could get better… Every game is tough but the good thing is, whenever you think about going to the field, it makes you excited again.”

– Michael Morse was out in left field at Sun Life Stadium early Saturday afternoon with Nationals’ trainer Lee Kuntz putting him through a series of exercises to test his right knee. He reported to Riggleman that he is feeling better, but was missing from the starting lineup for the fourth straight day.

Riggleman did say, though, that the Nationals would be more willing to use him defensively now. They were using him only in pinch-hitting situations the past two days.

“We feel like he’s usable,” Riggleman said. “We’re not going to stick him out there too much yet and have him play nine or whatever but after we worked him out a little bit today we feel like we can put him out there defensively. He’s not 100 percent but he’s playable.”

He may still need another day, however, before he’s back in the starting lineup. Laynce Nix once again got the start in left field in his place.