With the news this morning that Nats' outfielder Willie Harris has been bothered by issues with his right knee since making that game-ending diving catch in right field all the way back in the Mets series in NY, I thought it might be a good time to take a look back to yesterday's pre-game meeting with Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman, where I asked what he thought of the Nationals' 25-year-old right fielder Justin Maxwell's performance since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse earlier this month...
Q: You have Justin Maxwell in right again is he laying claim to that spot, or is he still part of a platoon?
Jim Riggleman: "Willie's out there against a right-hander, and Maxwell's out there against a left-hander predominantly, so yesterday was a knuckleballer it was kind of in-between. I want to get Maxwell out there as much as we can, so I don't want to pass up too many opportunities when there's a left-hander pitching to get him at bats, and if you get to the point in the game where a right-hander comes in, it's nice if you're tied or have the lead because you like to leave him in for his defense and get him some at bats against a right-handed pitcher also..."
Q: Have you seen a lot of progess in Justin?
Jim Riggleman: "Yeah, I think so. I think that short stint in Triple-A I think he made some progress and then he brought some of the that here, and [Hitting Coach] Rick [Eckstein] has continued to work very well with him. Very receptive guy, you know, he's very talented and like a lot of players you get to where Justin is in his career and it's on him, it's put him out there and let's go, cause the talent is off the chart, but we want to see it on the field, because it could be pretty special if we can get him going."
In 10 games and 18 at bats this season, Maxwell's collected 1 double, 1 HR and 6 RBI's with 6 walks and 7 K's. So far in his major league career, Maxwell's hit .248 with a .344 OBP, .459 SLG (.803 OPS), 5 doubles, 1 triple, 7 HR's and 17 RBI's in 65 games and 133 at bats.