Asked this morning by Jim Memolo on Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio's "First Pitch" with Mr. Memolo and MASN Nats tv analyst Rob Dibble, to talk a little bit about Nationals' outfielder Roger Bernadina, who's drawn attention recently with his solid defensive play and game-of-a-lifetime performance against the NY Mets in Citi Field last week, the Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman told the host that, "It's an interesting situation...,":
Jim Riggleman: "...[Bernadina's] somewhat inexperienced, but he's not a kid. Roger's 25, 26-years-old, (ed. note - "He's 26."), so it's his time. It's time to find out if he's going to be a regular for us in the big leagues, and we really want that to happen. He's a good, tremendous athlete, he can run, he can throw, he's got power, but it's on him. He's getting the at bats, and he's got to show us that we don't need to find anybody else. That it's his job, and he's going to get a lot of at bats here to determine that, but he teases a little bit, you know, he'll show us a tremendous ballgame, he'll show us tremendous skills, and then every now and then he'll show us that he's never seen a curve ball, you know, he'll swing at some stuff that's not a strike and get himself in some counts that he shouldn't be getting into, and we think that if we stick with him it's gonna work, but again it's on him."
Elijah Dukes, Willie Harris, Justin Maxwell, Willy Taveras, even Cristian Guzman. The search for a permanent right fielder was a "revolving door" earlier this year after the Nats dismissed the 25-year-old Dukes this Spring and then struggled to find an everyday right fielder, but as SI.com writer Jim Lemire* (who termed the search a "revolving door) observed in a recent article on the Nats' progress entitled, "No more gaffes, no more laughs for suddenly respectable Nationals", the Nats' move toward giving Bernadina a chance to win the job, has only helped to eliminate the "prevailing uncertainty" about who would be in the Nats' lineup every day which had plagued the franchise in recent years.
The Nats' Skipper, Jim Riggleman spoke to MASN's Bob Carpenter for the most recent edition of his video blog at MASNSports.com, and he says, "...[Bernadina's] either the real deal or he's teasing the heck out of us, because he's really given us a lot to hope for there in the future." So far this season, Bernandina's hitting .291/.344/.455 (.799 OPS, 111 OPS+) in 19 games and 55 at bats, over which he's hit 3 doubles, 2 HR's and collected 7 RBI's, with 4 walks and 2 stolen bases. (Other Stats: 0.0 WAR, -2.0 UZR, .350 BABIP). After signing with the Montreal Expos as an amateur free agent in 2001 and playing in 759 games over 9 seasons in the minors, is it finally Roger Bernadina's chance to earn an everyday role in the big leagues? Or will it be back to a platoon in a few weeks with DC GM Mike Rizzo working to bring in a legitimate RF option that so far hasn't emerged out of the Nats' system?
(ed. note - " * = After I read the article by SI.com's Jim Lemire I sent an email asking if he'd be interested in answering a few questions about his article on the Nats, and Mr. Lemire was nice enough to do so, I'll post the interview tomorrow afternoon while I'm driving to the nation's capital.")