VIERA FL - FEBRUARY 25: Roger Bernadina #2 of the Washington Nationals poses for a portrait during Spring Training Photo Day at Space Coast Stadium on February 25 2011 in Viera Florida. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
The Washington Nationals announced this afternoon that they'd recalled 26-year-old outfielder Roger Bernadina from Triple-A Syracuse to take Ian Desmond's place on the roster as the 25-year-old infielder was placed on the Paternity Leave List.
After going 1 for 5 with a walk last night in a loss to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the Curacao-born Bernadina, who signed as an international free agent with the Montreal Expos in 2001, was 12 for 45 (.267/.340/.400) with three doubles, a HR, four walks, twelve K's and five stolen bases in thirteen games for the Chiefs. Bernadina had an opportunity to earn a spot as part of a platoon in left field with the Nats this Spring, but Michael Morse's Grapefruit League numbers convinced the Nationals that they had to get the 29-year-old outfielder a full-season of at bats, so Bernadina was pushed into a battle for the starting spot in center vacated by Nyjer Morgan when he was dealt to Milwaukee. That job eventually went to Rick Ankiel, with Bernadina the odd-man-out and Laynce NIx on the bench.
Bernadina failed to make the Nats' roster at the start of the 2010 season, but he went down to Triple-A Syracuse and worked his way back, hitting .377/.426/.541 with two doubles, two HR's, eight RBI's and seven steals in 14 games and 61 AB's before he was called back up to the nation's capital in the second week of April. "They sent me down because last year I broke my ankle," Bernadina explained in an interview that May, "but I was motivated anyway because I missed most of the season [in 2009]. I was motivated wherever they sent me. I just went back to the minor leagues and showed them that I belonged here."
A first half of the season in which Bernadina posted a .282/.354/.436 slash line with nine doubles, two triples, five HR's and seven stolen bases in nine attempts, was followed by a second-half in which he slowed down considerably, hitting in just 51 of his last 260 plate appearances to finish the year with a .246/.307/.384 line which once again left some questions about what role he'll fill in the future Nats' outfield. Is Bernadina the next CFer-in-waiting. A 4th outfielder behind whoever emerges to play alongside Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth? He's going to get another chance to show the nation's capital and the Nats what he's capable of doing...