PHILADELPHIA — The Nationals announced on Wednesday that they had done what most largely expected when second baseman Danny Espinosa was ready to come off the disabled list: they optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse.
The Nationals made little secret of the fact that they wanted Espinosa, who has dealt with shoulder and wrist issues this season, to get healthy and then get himself righted at the plate. That process has already begun at Triple-A, though Espinosa is just 2-for-21 since beginning a rehab assignment last week.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson and general manager Mike Rizzo expanded Wednesday on what they’d like to see from Espinosa while he’s in the minor leagues:
On what he hopes Espinosa will accomplish: “It’s not a big deal. He just needs to get healthy and his bat healthy, and he’ll be back. I just want to see him be a good hitter. He’s very capable of being a good hitter, both the right and the left. His power will always be there, because he’s exceptionally strong. Just keep it simple. See the ball. Sit on it. Try to hit line drives. A lot of those go out. I know.”
On what the team is working with him on: “We’re trying to tear down his approach and his swing and make some adjustments and see if we can get back the Danny Espinosa that we saw such good progress in when he first got to the big leagues.”
“We need for him to get to a place in his mechanics and his approach that allows him to put the barrel of the bat on the ball and to utilize the other skills that he has: power, speed, defense and that type of thing. He has to be more consistent and have an approach that allows him to succeed at this level.”
On if he can think of other cases in which a major leaguer for several years has to retool himself so drastically: “There’s a lot of instances. Even this year, Ike Davis was sent to the minor leagues. (Dustin) Ackley with Seattle was sent to the minor leagues. It happens.
“Sometimes there’s a bump in the road, and they’re better addressed at a less-stressful, where you’re not trying to win at all costs, where you can develop and get training in and really take a step back in a less-stressful situation.”
On how Anthony Rendon’s strong play will affect Espinosa: “I think they’re independent of each other. We want Rendon to succeed at this level. We want Danny to get his approach back where he can be a valuable commodity for us up here on the ballclub here.”