DENVER — The first time Tyler Moore got the call to the big leagues, he concedes he might not have been mentally ready. Going from playing every day in Triple-A to playing sparingly in the majors, Moore found himself standing in for pinch hit at-bats and being overcome.
“The crowds getting big, there’s runners on,” Moore said. “I’d get tensed up.”
Moore was optioned to Triple-A on May 28. He went back to playing first base and left field every day and hit .391 with two homers. Nine days later, he was back with the Nationals. Since then, Moore has hit .450 (9 for 20) with two doubles, two homers, five walks and only three strikouts. He started Monday against Colorado lefty Jeff Francis.
His performance has been enough that he’s worked his way into a platoon role in left field with Steve Lombardozzi. In the past 11 games, if Lombardozzi isn’t playing left field, Moore is as the Nationals have faced far more left-handed pitching than they did early in the season. If he keeps producing, manager Davey Johnson said his role could expand.
“He’s gaining respect from his teammates and around the league. All you have to do is watch how cautious the pitchers are when they pitch to him. And he’s not swinging at balls out of the zone.”
Moore credits the minor league interlude for allowing him time to reboot after his first call-up.
He said this time around “feels like a clean slate,” and cites improved confidence for his increased comfort at the plate and in the outfield as a converted first baseman.
“Now I know exactly what to expect,” he said. “How the stadiums are going to be and how my emotions are going to be to kind of calm myself down, and just play baseball and compete with the pitchers.”
The Nationals activated Mark DeRosa from the disabled list Monday, clearing room for the right-handed veteran utilityman by placing Xavier Nady on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right wrist.
DeRosa’s activation culminates a nearly two-month process for him to get over a left oblique strain.
During the course of his rehab, DeRosa’s father, Jack, died of cancer in early June. DeRosa will likely be used as a right-handed outfield option as well as Johnson’s primary backup infielder and to spell Ryan Zimmerman at third base.
DeRosa struggled out of the gate, getting just three hits in 37 at-bats before going down with the oblique strain in late April.View Entire Story
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Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
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