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Latest Rick Eckstein Items
Four names have emerged as possibilities to replace the manager. They all operate differently than Johnson. They are younger, and some have more outward fire than the 70-year-old Johnson often projects.
They're proud, accomplished men. They worked together to build a World Series contender. It isn't working this year. Have they reached some kind of untenable spot in their relationship?
"A lot of this falls on the players," said GM Mike Rizzo. "This is a players' league and the players are paid to perform. They haven't. It's the voice of the guy who's in charge of that, we felt we needed a different perspective and a different way of doing things."
Eckstein had been the Nats' hitting coach since Oct. 24, 2008, which made him the longest-tenured hitting coach in the National League East.
With Harper back, the Nationals went back to the type of lineup they had at the season's outset but have been rarely able to use since because of various injuries.
Sunday afternoon, Espinosa was 0-for-4. It was his sixth hitless game in the last seven, a stretch that has now featured only one hit in his last 28 at-bats with 13 strikeouts and no walks.
On a team with a lineup that requires few pinch hitters and even fewer defensive replacements, the Nationals' bench players, Chad Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi, Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina, are faced with a difficult transition.
From his perch on the steps of the Washington Nationals' dugout, hitting coach Rick Eckstein has a front row seat for the work of his offense. For a while, it was a seat that was scrutinized from the outside.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson was sitting in his office Tuesday afternoon while shortstop Ian Desmond took to the field at AT&T Park for early batting practice. On Monday, he'd successfully gone through his first full baseball workout since going on the disabled list July 22 with a left oblique strain. Tuesday's early hitting was the next step.