- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2007

Q: Brian Schneider is really struggling at the plate, and Jesus Flores has looked pretty good the few times he has played. Any chance the kid could start getting more playing time, maybe even a platoon with Schneider? Seems like a waste to have him just sitting on the bench. Dylan Murphy, Arlington

A: Nope, not any time soon. The question was posed to Manny Acta yesterday morning, and his answer was pretty definitive: “We’re happy with his progress, but 20 at-bats don’t tell you the story. It’s only a month. He’s not here to platoon.” Still, the Nationals are pleased with the 22-year-old Flores, who was taken in the Rule 5 draft after never playing above Class A. He’s a definite keeper, and one NL scout recently told me he thinks the guy could be a future All-Star. But they don’t want to overexpose him up here. The last thing you want to do is mess with his progress.

Q: With the obvious lack of offense, what are the chances of bringing up Tony Batista? He is hitting well at Class AAA, and a few years ago he led the Expos in RBI. It appears the guy can hit. He could replace Josh Wilson. Supposedly Batista can play third and second. With Guzman back, we have two shortstops, so we do not need Wilson. Michael Westport, Conn.

A: Batista has indeed been playing well at Columbus (hitting .299 with five homers and 21 RBI at last check), but I’m just not sure it makes a lot of sense to bring him up to Washington. He’s really only capable of playing third base, and last time I checked the Nationals have some guy named Zimmerman clogging up that spot. Plus, my recollection from covering Batista is that he’s the kind of player who is streaky and needs to get consistent at-bats to produce. That wouldn’t happen if he were sitting on the bench and only coming in to pinch-hit once a game.

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