When the Washington Nationals went about constructing their roster for the 2013 season, they expected Tyler Moore to fill a specific need. After strong rookie season coming off the bench, the Nationals hoped Moore would remain as their right-handed power in that role.
When they decided to option him to Triple-A on June 9, in a long conversation about the decision Moore told manager Davey Johnson “I know it’s a tough job, but I can do it.’”
Wednesday night, playing in his first game since being recalled from Triple-A, Moore hit a game-tying home run.
“He hit the heck out of that ball,” Johnson said. “Line drive, out of here.
“But he’s such a good hitter. It’s hard to believe he struggled here, and it’s hard to believe he went down there and struggled. He drove in a bunch of runs, but he still struggled.”
Moore, who hit .158 in the major leagues before his demotion and .178 in Triple-A, set about raising that first number on Wednesday night.
He said it was a relief to produce so quickly after returning, helping perhaps to alleviate some of the pressure he was putting on himself in his first MLB stint this season.
“I think I came in and tried to do way too much,” Moore said. “Chasing balls, swing was long, trying to think about home runs instead of squaring the bat. (Focus on) the small result, and that’ll produce.”
For the Nationals to get where they expect to go, they’re likely going to need Moore to contribute more. Last year the Nationals’ bench was one of their strengths. This year, as the entire offense has struggled the bench has not been exempt.
But Moore producing would change that significantly.
“Tyler was such a big part of this team last year,” said third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. “He’s going to get more at-bats pretty much with any team but this team. I think he’s a guy that could play everyday and it’s not easy to come off the bench.
“For him to get off to a slow start this year I think it was the right thing for them to get him some at-bats (in the minor leagues). Hopefully he can come back up here and help us like he did today.”