PHILADELPHIA — The Washington Nationals will see a familiar face in a strange uniform on Tuesday night when Roger Bernadina, previously one of the longest-tenured members of the Nationals organization, heads out to right field for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Bernadina was released two weeks ago, on Aug. 19., when the Nationals acquired David DeJesus from the Cubs in a waiver trade. DeJesus, of course, was quickly sent to Tampa Bay in another waiver trade.
But the end of Bernadina’s tenure with the Nationals was likely in the cards either way.
The outfielder had the best season of his career coming off the bench for the Nationals in 2012, but he hit just .178 with a .247 on-base percentage and .220 slugging percentage in 85 games in the same role this season.
From June 30 until his release, Bernadina had only 18 at-bats.
“I like him, he just didn’t get as much playing time early because we had a set lineup,” manager Davey Johnson said Monday. “But he should’ve been used to that.
“It looked like early-on he was guessing for pitches. He wasn’t as aggressive. All things go back to that you’ve got to stay aggressive in the box. He missed a lot of fastballs because he started getting in that guessing game.”
Bernadina, who’d been one of the last remaining players acquired when the team was the Expos, was happy to visit with his old teammates before Monday’s game, out shaking hands and giving hugs on the field early in the afternoon. He has already played in 11 games with the Phillies after signing with them on Aug. 21.
While Bernadina was disappointed in the way his time with the Nationals ended, he understood that he wasn’t performing well enough for them to keep him any longer. The Phillies have been giving him significant playing time in the outfield. He’s hit .140/.213/.326 in 47 plate appearances with them.
“I’m doing what I love to do,” Bernadina said from the Phillies’ clubhouse. “Playing baseball.”