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.
“There’s been some discussion on Tyler of ‘Not just lefties,” Johnson said. “His performance has not gone unnoticed by the manager or the staff, or all of baseball.
“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.”
DeRosa in, Nady out
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.
Nady, the 15th player the Nationals have put on the DL this season, has been getting treatment on the wrist since spring training, a team official said, and he received a cortisone injection Monday.
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.
He was 1 for 11 with three strikeouts and four walks in four rehab games with Single-A Potomac.
Nady has struggled to find his rhythm at the plate as well, hitting .157 with a .211 on-base percentage in a bench role. Johnson said Monday there was no doubt his injury hindered his performance.
Around the horn
Brad Lidge, who was designated for assignment June 17, was released Monday. … Henry Rodriguez (index finger) continued his rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg. There is no timetable for his return. … The Nationals wrapped up a 32-game stretch against only NL East and AL East teams going 18-14.
• Amanda Comak can be reached at email@example.com.
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