- 68,000 more file for unemployment — in one week
- Michigan bans in-state insurers from covering abortion
- Nancy Pelosi tells Democrats to pass budget: ‘Embrace the suck’
- Key Obamacare official: Last two months much harder than anyone hoped
- Sen. Mike Lee: We must stop ‘the prez’ from acting like the queen
- George Bush consoles Alabama kicker Cade Foster: You will be stronger
- Megachurch pastor with ties to Obama commits suicide
- WaPo to readers: Send us your ‘gun violence’ stories for Sandy Hook anniversary
- U.S. threatens Ukraine with sanctions over dispatch of riot police
- Canada doing away with door-to-door mail delivery by 2018
Danny Espinosa takes a seat as Nationals continue the search for answers
Question of the Day
ATLANTA — Late Tuesday night, as Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson digested his team’s 14th loss of the season and fifth straight against the Atlanta Braves, he pondered the question of why the Nationals weren’t playing as well as they could.
He said he’d try a few new guys in the lineup, maybe in a few new spots, a process meant to help find something that clicks and ignites the offense. By the time he appeared on his weekly radio show Wednesday morning, he had decided.
“Not playing good so I got benched,” said Espinosa, one of several Nationals starters who has expressed his disdain for days off. “If they don’t think I should be in there, then I’m not in there. That’s kind of what really matters.”
“I think sometimes just a change is good,” Johnson said. “It’s not like it’s the end of the world. He’ll be fine.”
The impetus behind the switch, Johnson said, came back to the idea that the Nationals are still searching for a lineup that works and has someone who can get on base in front of Bryce Harper in the No. 3 spot. Lombardozzi may be the guy who can do that.
With Ryan Zimmerman sidelined by a hamstring injury and Jayson Werth, who had moved into the cleanup spot in his absence, out with left ankle and right hamstring issues, the lineup has been in flux. Since Saturday, Espinosa had moved from the No. 7 spot in the lineup to the No. 2 spot. In four games, he is 2 for 16 with seven strikeouts. Tuesday he was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
“He has the capability to be a really good hitter,” Johnson said. “Sometimes he gets into looking for something and trying to do too much with it. Instead of looking for something he can hit hard, he tries to expand a lot of times, tries to expand the zone. He’s trying to make something happen. That doesn’t always work in your favor.”
Espinosa, who rehabbed a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder in the offseason and has played with a sore right wrist for two weeks, said he has no physical issues that are hindering him.
When the season began, Johnson praised Espinosa for the approach he took in the spring, which focused on trying to hit hard ground balls. In the first 13 games of the spring, Espinosa struck out only six times in 47 plate appearances. In the first 20 games, he struck out only 15 percent of the time — a vast improvement from a 2012 season in which he led the National League with 189 strikeouts.
Tim Hudson, who held the Nationals to just three hits Tuesday, pitched a superb game. And he attacked Espinosa differently than he had in the past. It surprised the second baseman. That left Espinosa out front of Hudson’s fastballs and out of sync the whole night.
He may not sit for both games. Johnson explained his radio comments as, “You’re liable to say anything on the radio,” and added, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” But for one day at least, Espinosa was on the bench.
“I thought I was in a good place for a while,” he said. “I think I’m going to be fine. I think I’m going to come back from this and I’m going to be stronger and better than what I’ve ever been. I’ll take these two days and just use them for motivation. Use it in a positive way, the best I can, and when I get my next opportunity to play, I’m going to come back stronger than I’ve ever been.
“When I get another opportunity to get back in there, I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
NOTES:Werth was out of the Nationals’ lineup for a second straight game Wednesday as he dealt with swelling in his left ankle and soreness in his right hamstring. Werth said he expected to get a precautionary X-ray taken and Johnson said he’s more worried about the hamstring than the ankle. But Werth also did light jogging and took some batting practice. …
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
- KIBBE: Another Republican budget surrender
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Inside the Ring: China targets Global Hawk drone
- Creator of 'Selfies at Funerals' blog retires after Obama flub: 'Our work here is done'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Headlines from Associated Press and around the Internet
Positive propaganda for a nation in peril.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow