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On Espinosa’s homers, Harper’s mistake and more

Mar 22, 2014, 5:34 PM EDT

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VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals have been telling Danny Espinosa all spring they’ve been pleased with his approach at the plate, even if the results didn’t necessarily back it up. Then on Saturday afternoon, that same approach — a compact swing and an emphasis on trying to hit the ball the other way — finally produced big-time results.

Espinosa clubbed a pair of homers from the left side of the plate, including an opposite-field shot in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Nationals a 6-5 victory over the Marlins.

“I feel like I’ve really been sticking to what I’m trying to do, and just simplify as much as possible,” he said. “It was nice today to see it.”

Espinosa’s first homer (a solo shot in the seventh) was an absolute bomb to right-center, into the wind at Space Coast Stadium. But it didn’t come on a home-run swing. Espinosa managed to clear the fence by a healthy margin with a short, compact swing that stood in stark contrast to many of his swings-and-misses from previous seasons.

“The ball he hit to right-center, that’s against the wind,” manager Matt Williams said. “It just lets him know that he’s got enough when he’s under control and puts the head of the bat on it. There’s plenty (of power) there.”

Espinosa’s second homer was even more impressive, considering it was an opposite-field, line drive to left with the game on the line in the bottom of the ninth.

“I was just trying to stay short to the ball and just be on time,” he said. “Not swinging as hard as I can, but just short and on time and trying to barrel the ball.”

Even with his big day, Espinosa raised his Grapefruit League batting average to a mere .214. Here again, though, the standard numbers don’t tell the entire story. Of much more significance to the Nationals: He has struck out only seven times in 47 plate appearances, a 14.9 percent rate that is dramatically reduced from his career mark of 27.1 percent.

Williams has refrained from naming a winner in the second base competition between Espinosa and Rendon, but all signs continue to point to Rendon starting on Opening Day and getting the bulk of the playing time moving forward. That would leave Espinosa as backup infielder, a role he suggested he’s willing to embrace should that decision be made.

“I’ll always prepare and go about my work like I’ve always done when I’ve started,” he said. “I’ll take my groundballs, I’ll work on my swing, I’ll be in the cage and do what I’ve always done. And if my name’s called later in that game for a pinch-hit, or if I get a start that day, I’ll be ready to go.”

More observations from Saturday’s game…

Bryce Harper had an eventful day, both good and bad. The good: He roped a double to right-center in the fourth, only his second extra-base hit of the spring, and was quick to advance to third on a wild pitch. The bad: He was picked off first base in the sixth, and in the eighth made a terrible decision to throw the ball 320 feet to the plate on a 2-run double by Donovan Solano with the Nats leading 4-1 at the time, letting Solano take third in the process (and ultimately scoring the tying run on a sacrifice fly). Williams’ reaction to the play said it all: “Wow. Wrong move. But, wow.” The rookie manager plans to speak to Harper on Sunday about it, but at the same time doesn’t want his 21-year-old start to completely give up the aggressive style of play that defines him. “He’s aggressive, and we love that about him,” Williams said. “He’s 21 years old, and he’ll learn from everything that happens on the field, good and bad. We’ll talk to him about it certainly tomorrow, re-live it, give him options. … It’s phenomenal talent, and he’s well on his way to harnessing that when he needs to, and being aggressive when he needs to.”

Rafael Soriano entered for the seventh and immediately served up a homer to Marcell Ozuna on a hanging slider. Soriano has now allowed nine runs on 11 hits in only 4 2/3 innings this spring, but his manager insists he’s not concerned. “He missed a little bit high today,” Williams said. “Ball was kind of up today, but that’s spring. Again, he had to wait a little bit longer today to get in the game than he normally would. Generally he’s (been pitching) in the fifth inning-ish; today he was in the seventh. So it’s all an adjustment period getting back into that, and we’ll have to adjust again as we get him closer to the ninth. So he’s fine.”

Ross Detwiler also had a rough day out of the pen, giving up three runs in the eighth on two hits and two walks (though Harper’s ill-timed throw contributed to the whole mess). The left-hander was returning to pitch two days after his spring bullpen debut, so he’s still adjusting to the new role and being on the mound more regularly while throwing fewer pitches per appearance.

— While Doug Fister was making his first start in 20 days, Jordan Zimmermann was pitching in a minor-league game down the street. The right-hander tossed five scoreless innings, allowing three hits, a walk and a hit batter. He also struck out four. Zimmermann is slated to make one more exhibition appearance before his season debut April 3 against the Mets.

  1. natinalsgo - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    Thank you for being our eyes Mark. Finally Espi sticks with the short stroke approach and got the ball to go the distance. Rizzo’s phone is probably ringing off the hook now and the asking price just went up.

    I want to be the first Espi pessimist to say congrats! Keep it up!

  2. natsfan1a - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    I second that emotion.

  3. nats128 - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    Mark, on the “bad” Harper, Im glad you made mention of that overthrow.

    That cost the Nats a run eventually in that inning on the Sac Fly and its beyond time for Bryce to start playing fundamental baseball. Hes not a 18 year old Rookie any more. No more excuses. Start playing like a full time 3rd year player.

  4. nats128 - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2014/03/22/scott-hairston-is-a-lock-to-make-the-nationals-roster-right/

    If someone posted this on Hairston I missed it. IF Hairston makes the team! IF. Hello. Just saying that makes me like Williams even more altho I believe Hairston makes the team its a revelation of what some of us have said and have been labeled as haters. I just say that Im not a kook-aid drinker.

    • Hiram Hover - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      Yes, but at the bottom of the story, Kilgore seemed to suggest this is less about Scotty per se than about Williams approach to these roster decisions – he’s going to keep his cards close about ALL these decisions, even the ones that are not necessarily such close calls.

      • nats128 - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        I agree and will take the fact that he has publicly said it as a positive. Hairston was a mistake much as every team makes mistakes and to paraphase “its how you react to your own mistakes that proves who you are as a company as you dont stick with mistakes to cover your tracks”.

  5. NatsLady - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    So, I’m listening to the Reds game. Looks like with Schumaker injured, Bernadina is going to make the team. The announcers are enjoying that he hits. They are not enjoying his chancy routes and missed balls quite so much.

  6. laddieblahblah - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Wow. Great news re both Danny and Fister today. If only Danny had used that approach a couple of years ago. He didn’t have any trouble seeing those 2 pitches today… I guess they must have finally re-engineered that batter’s eye in CF!

    You have got to give Danny credit, but some of the credit must also go to the coaching staff selling him on the new approach, and then getting him to stick to it.

    The bull pen wasn’t so hot, though – Soriano, Det, and Gonzalez almost gave the game away.

    If Danny can hit, then this team can be more than just special. Everyone on the field can hit, and there will be guys on the bench who can both hit and play D, too. Matt will be able to work around injuries to his starters this year more easily than Davey was able to, last year, without losing all that much on either offense or defense.

    Keep it up, Mr. Espinosa. I don’t see Rizzo trading Danny if he can hit, and hit for power. What could Mike get in return to make that worthwhile? Besides, as Natsjack has often pointed out, Danny is the only viable option to back up Desi at SS.

    Rotation seems set, one through four, and no. 5 will have to perform to keep that job, since there will be other options for Mike and Matt to play, if necessary. Same for the pen.

    The Nats are shaping up to be one heckuva team. I thought Rizzo would move Danny in the off-season. Looks like Mike knew what he was doing in keeping him, and handing him off to Matt and Schu for a makeover.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      Hey Laddieblahblah it’s Gonat. Danny needed that validation that this short stroke worked. His stubborness had really cost him but it’s still a long road ahead.

      If Espi pulls it off, next year’s infield is

      3B Rendon SS Desi 2B Espi 1B RZim

      No need for any new acquisitions on this team.

      Batters eye not a problem in 2014.

      • ehay2k - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:43 PM

        Gonat, I agree with the possibility for that IF next year. But even if that happens, Rizzo can’t rest – he needs to find a utility bench player then.(He needs to know now that we will not let him off the hook¡)

      • natinalsgo - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:06 PM

        Sure, have to keep on the pressure as he seems to need to it so he doesn’t get complacent and fall back into old bad habits.

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:34 PM

        As has been previously foreseen by others …

      • laddieblahblah - Mar 23, 2014 at 6:38 AM

        Gonat! Never would have guessed with that new moniker.

        I had reluctantly concluded that Danny, like Rick Ankiel, just could not help himself. Yeah, it’s still not a done deal. I have seen Danny do it the right way for one, two, there weeks, even a month at a time, before relapsing into the same old, same old.

        But this time he’s got Matt and Schu reining him in, so I am optimistic about Danny, for a change. Schu has taken that big, caveman-ugly swing and transformed it into a Natalie Wood, sweet-looking compact beauty.

        Yes, Danny, even you can evoke visions of Natalie, as long as you swing like that. If I can think of a higher compliment than that, I’ll pay it.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 23, 2014 at 8:41 AM

        I had to look up Natalie Wood. Cute Russian beauty who met an early demise.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:09 AM

        Laddie, Gonat wasn’t available. A takeoff on Natinals with Go seemed like a good new name.

        Glad you are back posting. Hope you and Ghost interneted up.

      • thelatencn - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:17 AM

        If you were my age, you spent your teens in love with Natalie Wood, who starred opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Which wouldn’t be a bad title for Espinosa’s career to date.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        Danby the Rebel and BTW his GF from 2012 was a smoking hot brunette. I wish I could remember her name on the Tweeter. Very Natalie Wood ;) I will have to download that movie.

      • laddieblahblah - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        The Ghost and I have had some good exchanges. I wish he would post here, again, and tried my best to convince him. One of the best informed and most insightful of all the posters, ever, if not the very best.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        Laddie, I agree. The old combo of Ghost and NatsJack was like an insiders dream. The little bit last week on Espi and the FOs efforts that this 2nd base competition was for real as portrayed at all levels of the team was interesting to the point where he could see a scenario where Espi indeed could be the seasons starter. I couldn’t imagine that until yesterday and while I still believe Rendon is a future star, Rizzo still makes the ultimate decision as we saw with Detwiler/Lannan in 2012 and the override of Davey.

        Matty will have his say with a whole dose of Rizzo.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        http://thebiglead.com/2013/01/24/danny-espinosa-has-an-attractive-girlfriend-who-has-already-blocked-mlb-networks-kevin-millar-on-twitter/

        You can find almost anything on the internet. Sarah Mosher is Espi’s Natalie Wood!

      • laddieblahblah - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:25 AM

        “Rebel Without a Cause”

        Just about perfecto for Danny, up until now. Was thinking of Natalie as she was in “Splendor in the Grass” a few years later. She was petite, very innocent-looking and young, at that time, and she played a fragile teenager whose character exuded naive vulnerability. My 2nd favorite flick from the great Elia Kazan, behind only “Streetcar Named Desire.” He also directed John McCain’s all-time favorite movie “Viva (I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees) Zapata,” and “On the Waterfront” with Marlon (I coulda been a contenda) Brando.

        Most people remember Natalie as “Maria” in “West Side Story.” And it was she who played the little girl in the Christmas classic “Miracle on 34th Street,” the best XMAS movie in my book.

        Can’t believe you had to look her up. “Splendor” is a tear-jerker (poor Natalie!), but well worth your time, IMO. Don’t get me started on Natalie Wood, or Zohra Lampert, or Vivien Leigh. Kazan was a master at getting the best out of all of them.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:30 AM

        I know I know. I had heard of her and you are lucky to have grown up with the classics. Growing up in the 80’s gave us classics like Flashdance. LOL

  7. Section 222 - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Good for Espi. His hard work may be paying off. Also great to hear him say he’ll be ready, whatever his role. Haven’t heard that before from him.

    • David Proctor - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:50 PM

      I think he realizes what his only role on the big league team is. It’s either that or Syracuse. Can’t blame him for picking against Syracuse.

  8. ehay2k - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Good for Espi! I beleive that he has needed a couple of things for a while and is just now getting them: first, some real self confidence. He may have come off as stubborn and headstrong, even cocky, but I always believed that inside, he doubted himself more and more after every bad at bat. Too much big league pressure? Perhaps the time in the minors helped put things in proper perspective. The other thing he needed was a simpler swing. Part of that comes from clearing out the hyper-dimensional swing instruction he had been taught for the past few years. Whoever worked with him in the offseason deserves a raise. An opposite field homer into the wind? Not happening under the previous regime.

    So, good for him. In think he is our bench guy, and he makes it much easier to give Desi, Zim, and even ALR days off (Rendon can play third for Zimm when he is off or at 1b.) You can never have too much talent and depth.

    I should be worried about the pen, but I’m not. These guys rarely look good in ST, or so it seems to me. I just want an injury free ST and we can start playing real ball.

  9. NatsLady - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    I keep thinking about injured pitchers, and wondering if the “new” market inefficiency is not so much preventing injuries, but realizing they are (with present science) inevitable–and so, taking the risk and healing them. Rizzo doesn’t seem to be afraid to pick up injured pitchers and let our system fix them, even fixing them requires years.

    • NatsLady - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      On the other hand, he can be ruthless–especially with relievers. Like Sean Burnett and his elbow troubles. Rizzo wasn’t going to sign him for two years, the upside wasn’t worth it, and the downside was what actually happened–nine innings in 2013 and shaky for 2014.

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:24 PM

        And one of the reasons Detwiler doesn’t really want to do it. But if he is used as a long/middle reliever he’ll get days in between appearances. But that might mean keeping another left hander. Blevins had seven or eight pitchers who were relievers who were more effective than he was in Oakland. He wasn’t even the best left-hander out of the bullpen. Both Doolittle, Milone were better and its interesting to note the the A’s picked up Fernando Abad to further bolster their bullpen.

        I don’t think Rizzo or Williams want to rely on Blevins. Enter Michael Gonzalez again. Detwiler appears to the be the left-handed option they’ve got coming out of the pen. The problem is he isn’t liking it so well.

      • veejh - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:33 PM

        @cayucos….Rizzo doesn’t want to rely on Blevins? What? He’s our guy. Isn’t Milone in the starting rotation for the A’s?

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:36 PM

        Milone was the swing man last season. He wasn’t a starter for a good part of it. This season, due to devastating injuries it appears he’s going to get another shot at it. But we’ll see if Beane doesn’t cook something up …

    • thesmallpotatoes - Mar 22, 2014 at 10:35 PM

      Really good point NatsLady.

      I also wonder if it makes sense to simply stockpile young arms, rather than invest in high priced arms, and then let them fight it out and replace each other.

    • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:29 PM

      Anthony Jordan instead of Anthony Rendon? Seems to be a few glitches in that list.

      • NatsLady - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        yes, I sent some feedback to the author, who said he rushed out entries for all 30 teams and “editing was non-existent.” He promised to fix a couple of errors ASAP. Anyway, I thought the methodology was interesting, sort of like Nate Silver with his aggregation of polls (in politics).

  10. veejh - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    I’m taking Espinosa all day over Carroll at this point. WAY too much upside with Espi now that his retooled swing seems to be taking a bit of shape. If he can hit .250 with some power here and there off the bench, it’ll make our team that much better. I’m pullin’ for Danny. Nats!

    • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:25 PM

      Enough to make him an all star second baseman in the NL should he start.

      • sjm308 - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:47 PM

        welcome back Peric!

      • letswin3 - Mar 22, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        He gets two hits, and he becomes the second coming of Ted Williams?

    • sjm308 - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Carroll is not battling Espinosa and probably never has been.
      Its between him, Moore and Lobernus. I wish Scot Hairston nothing but the best but he just doesn’t do it for me. Hope I am wrong but I would keep both Carroll and Moore and eat the huge salary that Hairston came with.

      • veejh - Mar 22, 2014 at 10:04 PM

        Carroll was brought in specifically as competition for backup middle infielder.

      • Doc - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        Me too, sjm308.

  11. Drew - Mar 22, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    Espinosa will have some crucial pinch hitting appearances. Think of what will happen if TyMo or Carroll makes the roster over Kobernus.

    The Nats are down one run in the late innings. A righty walks Ramos. Who is the best bet to pinch run and get into scoring position? It’s got to be McLouth, right? The guy stole 30 bases last year.

    So who’s left to pinch hit for the pitcher? It’s Espinosa, right?

    This is why I can’t understand Carroll’s chance to make the roster. Tyler Moore has come-from-behind power. Espinosa is a great fielder with occasional pop. Kobernus has great speed and occasionally catches balls hit to him in centerfield.

    Jamey Carroll is a nice guy and a fine fielder, but he’s 40! If he has a superhero strength, I just don’t see it.

    • laddieblahblah - Mar 23, 2014 at 6:51 AM

      “So who’s left to pinch hit for the pitcher?”

      Jamie Carroll, who is right behind Jason Werth as the best situational hitter in spring training. He has been doing, for more than a decade, what Danny is just now learning to do.

      I don’t know, of course, but I think its between Carroll and TyMo. RZ is clearly the first choice to back up ALR, so where does that leave TyMo? He is a terrible left fielder, even worse than Hairston.

      Remember who the manager is, and how he wants to play the game. Jamie Carroll is a guy who has been giving himself up for the team for years, and has become a great situational hitter. Danny? Not so much. No matter what any of us think, its what Matt thinks that counts. I think Carroll has an edge, given the manager and given his approach to playing, and winning.

  12. nats128 - Mar 22, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    cayucosbaseballconservancy – Mar 22, 2014 at 9:25 PM
    Enough to make him an all star second baseman in the NL should he start.

    reply report comment
    sjm308 – Mar 22, 2014 at 9:47 PM
    welcome back Peric!

    That wouldnt surprize me!

    • sjm308 - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      The giveaway is his love for the A’s relief pitcher Doolittle & while he is correct that Blevins was nowhere near the pitcher Doolittle was last year, he has repeated that over & over on another blog. Still, nice to have him back even though he was a little rough on an old man a month or so ago.

      • nats128 - Mar 23, 2014 at 8:58 AM

        sjm, Im impressed and he couldnt help himself with the Espi All Star comment. If Peric was so bright, he would have commented back in early 2011 that Espinosa had a problem in that long swing.

        No, Peric was day dreaming about all those HRs and disregarding that pitchers were getting a book on him and by mid May 2011 were making him look bad.

        Its called making adjustments and Espi made some adjustments that worked in June then had that July and August. Davey seemed to fix Espi in September.

        We all remember how Espi started off 2012 at Mendoza and the rest of the year was up and down with a great July 2012 but that injury in mid September that didnt seem to be disclosed just led to a bad ending and a even worse playoffs.

        Peric forgets about all of that I guess. If Rizzo had a true competitor at 2nd base in Spring Training of 2012 or picked up a 2nd baseman like Jamey Carroll at the trade deadline in 2012 how different things could have been. Jamey Carroll was scorching hot the 2nd half of 2012 BTW.

        This is why any suddenly hot Espi makes me nervous. Ive seen him great and Ive seen him awful swinging at balls at the brim of his helmet and in the dirt on the inside so many times it gave me nightmares. I like what Im hearing and just afraid I am getting sucked back into the vortex.

        First time shame on you 2nd time shame on me 3rd time shame on me 4th time shame on me…………….

  13. nats128 - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    Peter Moylan no longer qualifies as a Brave since hes now with the Astros and he will most likely need TJ surgery. Have to question how the Barves use there pitchers with this high amount of MLB pitchers that have pitched for them that are going thru TJ surgeries.

  14. veejh - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Mike Minor had penis surgery and won’t be ready for the start of the regular season? LOL.

    http://www.talkingchop.com/2014/3/19/5526062/ervin-santana-braves-rotation-2014-mike-minor-injury

    • unkyd59 - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:24 AM

      No lol from me, on the penis surgery….(shivers…)

      • TimDz - Mar 23, 2014 at 6:37 AM

        I’m afraid to ask what kind of rehab Mibor is looking at…..

      • nats128 - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        Painful, then I read at the end the suggestion that the Barves have an easy April schedule. What schedule is easy. The Mets will be better than last year and if you have to face the other teams best pitcher you never know as the Nats saw with Cosart and the Asstros.

        The Braves are fortunate to have a pretty favorable schedule in the early going — other than six games with the Nationals and three with the Reds, the month of April should be pretty easy — but it’s still kind of scary to think Freddy Garcia and David Hale could be the club’s No. 3 and No. 4 starters for the first week or so of the season.

      • Jb - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:43 AM

        So he had Tommy Johnson surgery?

      • letswin3 - Mar 23, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        Tim and jb, stop, you’re making my sides hurt from laughing. It’s only funny because it’s not us.

      • natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        Well played, sir.

  15. Joe Seamhead - Mar 23, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    On Harper, I agree that it’s time to play his position smarter. He’s not a rookie anymore.
    On Espinosa, I’m happy for him having a good day, I have wished him nothing but success and good luck this spring for his sake, and for the team’s sake. That said, two home runs against the likes of Chaz Roe and Kevin Slowey were nice and all, but keep it in perspective.
    As to spring training ,Clayton Kershaw was stinking the place out all spring, but when it was a money game yesterday Down Under, he brought his game! Keep all the ST stats in the perspective that they mean a lot more to the fan then they do to the guys making the decisions.

    • laddieblahblah - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      Last year guys like Chaz Roe and Kevin Slowey were eating him alive, as was just about anyone else healthy enough to walk from the dugout to the pitcher’s mound.

      Danny has to do it consistently. He seems to have matured as a player and found a support structure with new management and a new hitting coach. So far, so good. I’ll take it. That’s from me. I wasn’t just harsh on Danny, I used to be merciless in my disdain for his former approach to the game.

      The guy has changed. For the better. Only time will tell if that is good enough. For now, he has earned the benefit of the doubt from me, until and unless he proves unworthy of it.

  16. rabbit433 - Mar 23, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    The thing that always concerned me about Espinosa was his incredible amount of strikeouts. Now that he’s finally come around I look for him to make the team as a backup to Rendon.

    • Hiram Hover - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      Don’t count on too much of a change.

      Even in the best of circumstances Danny is likely to remain a high K guy. As long as his K rate doesn’t get totally out of hand, that’s bearable when combined with his superb D, power, and a decent walk rate. But last year he lost those last 2 things.

  17. edshelton2013 - Mar 23, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    Who would have predicted that Espinosa would have more ST homers than Harper (2 to 1)??
    Shows the meaningless of ST stats.

  18. DaveB - Mar 23, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    For all the Espi detractors who are convinced that he will be a disruption in the clubhouse, pout too much if he is on the bench, etc. etc. (always amazing how well us internet fans can see inside the clubhouse and the players heads), he seems to be saying all the right things:
    http://www.masnsports.com/nationals_pastime/2014/03/espinosa-i-think-its-been-a-good-friendly-competition.html
    I’m still not convinced that he’ll be able to make the transition to a good utility infielder, but not as much because of attitude as just the fact that coming off the bench is a really hard thing to do, especially for someone who has never had a really consistent swing.

    • nats128 - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      Espinosa has Boras as a agent and I expect Espi has been schooled on being a good team mate. Jayson Werth is also a Boras agent and will look out for him. I dont expect Espinosa to be a clubhouse issue.

      • sjm308 - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

        Agreed

    • Hiram Hover - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      People who were saying that stuff never backed it up – it was all conjecture and insinuation, projecting their own dislike for Danny onto his teammates.

  19. nats128 - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    And then there is this quote from Espinosa calling Anthony Rendon “Tony”. I think back to the time Espinosa said that he didn’t want to give up playing time to Lombardozzi. That quote he made back then wasnt received well by many and we all know talk is just talk but at least if its just BS hes saying the right BS and just hope he tows the company line if he ends up riding the pine

    “I think it’s been a good, friendly competition,” Espinosa said. “I’m extremely supportive of Tony. I like watching him hit. I think he’s a good hitter. I enjoy playing ball with him. For both of us, I think it drives both sides to play well, not to beat each other down at all, but more pick each other up and drive each other.”

  20. chaz11963 - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    I applaud Danny’s attitude and work ethic. Last year had to be super discouraging for him. He has stuck with it, adjusted and improved, and now is positioned to contribute on what might well be a big season for the Nats. Good job Danny!

  21. sjm308 - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Not to start up with anyone but I hate when someone posts something without basis or fact.
    There was an earlier statement about Milone being used in Oakland as a “swingman” whatever that is.
    Facts are that Milone started 26 of the 28 games he appeared in with the A’s, which to me, means he was a starter.
    Not even sure why that poster includes information like that but if he does, I think its important to be factual.

    • sjm308 - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      Oh, and if you look at 2012 – he started every single one of the 31 games he appeared in. I think 31 starts in a season is pretty declarative of what a starting pitcher would be for any team in the majors.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      Peric has a way with distortion of facts with his brand of bull. It still stinks as bad as his old load of crap. I don’t get it.

    • Hiram Hover - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      To be fair – you’re right that Milone didnt make any significant # of appearances out of the BP, but last year he did make only 3 starts in Aug and 2 in Sept, and was optioned to the minors a couple of times. The first time was after he got shelled in an early August start, the second was after Colon and Brett Anderson returned to the rotation.

  22. hitmeimopen - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Anyone else concerned about the elephant in the room…Soriano? If this guy doesn’t have “done” written all over him then I’ll get my eyes checked.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 56 --
ATLANTA 68 64 7.5
MIAMI 65 66 10.0
NEW YORK 62 70 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 60 72 15.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:35 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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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