Jun 15, 2010, 2:42 PM EDT
Photo by Rachel Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ivan Rodriguez has been a calming influence for Stephen Strasburg.
DETROIT — Much has been made about Ivan Rodriguez's role in Stephen Strasburg's fabulous first week in the majors, and it's a valid point. Pudge has been a valuable asset for the rookie right-hander, who has simply followed his lead while out on the mound and trusted the 20-year veteran to call a proper game.
Rodriguez's importance, though, extends beyond Strasburg. His return from the disabled list last week has had a dramatic effect on the club's fortunes, and that shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
In four games since coming back from a lower back strain, Pudge is batting .438 (7-for-16) with three doubles, three RBI and 1.096 OPS. His batting average is up to .338, and his 12 doubles rank third on the club, even though he's gotten about two-thirds of the at-bats as most other regulars.
The Nationals, meanwhile, have won three of four games since Rodriguez returned.
Contrast that with the their performance during Pudge's DL stint, when the Nats went 5-9. Wil Nieves doesn't have a hit in his last 19 at-bats, and the Nationals are 2-7 in the last nine games he's startedRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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