WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals drops a fly ball in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles during interleague play at Nationals Park on May 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
I'm not going to lie, I thoroughly enjoy press conferences with Davey Johnson, especially when the Washington Nationals' manager shares anecdotes from his career like he did on Friday when talking about his old Orioles teammates and the time Frank Robinson fell in a pool at an O's party. The Nats' skipper also explained the thinking behind giving Danny Espinosa a rest on Saturday, talked about his thinking on the Chien-Ming Wang vs Ross Detwiler rotation battle and broke the news about Stephen Strasburg having bicep issues during Sunday's start. It was a fun weekend (except for the losses to the Orioles). Here's some of the quotes that didn't make it into articles this weekend with the Nationals' manager's thoughts on Bryce Harper's error in the outfield, Strasburg's HR and Danny Espinosa's strikeout totals... plus a few links since there was no link post this morning...
Davey Johnson on using Tyler Moore and Bryce Harper Sunday and Harper's E: "Bryce just got a little over-aggressive. Tyler Moore was actually under it and the wind was blowing the ball away from Harp. And I don't know if [Harper] took his eye off the ball a little bit to avoid Tyler, but I heard [Harper] yell all the way in the dugout. You guys probably heard it upstairs."
Did you talk to Harper about what happened with the E?: Davey Johnson: "No. I know what happened. I don't have a big problem with physical mistakes, it's the mental mistakes... now if they both ran over there and backed off and the ball dropped I'd have a problem with that. But not [with] a guy being overly aggressive and running a guy off that was his ball."
• LINK: "'Hopefully I get a couple boos,' Bryce Harper said yesterday. 'That'd be awesome. I'm excited to get up there and play, and hopefully they don't throw any batteries or whatnot at me.'" - "What awaits Nats in Philly?" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com
Davey Johnson on Jesus Flores adjusting to playing every day and his 1st HR Sunday: "[Flores] had a great Spring. He's a good hitter, and he's got a lot of power. It's kind of hard sitting and playing once every four days or something and then coming back and playing every day for four in a row or something. [You] probably get a little tired. I think the day off helped him be a little crisper today."
Davey Johnson on Strasburg's HR on an 0-2 curve from the O's Wei-Yin Chen: "I didn't expect Stras to hit a breaking ball, he doesn't usually see breaking balls. Bo Porter came in after [the HR] and said, 'We found the left fielder.' That's great, but it was a fun dugout when we started scoring some runs."
• Did Strasburg stress his elbow hitting the HR?: Davey Johnson: "That probably loosened it up. He launches about 10 [HR's] a day when he's taking BP.
• Davey Johnson Danny Espinosa's 2 K's Sunday (and yes he did hit a double and a HR, but it was a question about his performance after a day off): "I didn't like the couple punchouts. He needs to cut those down, I mean, he's on a horrendous pace. And he's a lot better hitter than that. I mean, he's on pace for close to 200 [K's], and that was a good shot in the arm for him today."
• LINK: MASN's Dan Kolko talked to Danny Espinosa about all the K's, Danny said, "I know stat people, they're worried about that. ... Well, strikeouts happen. This isn't 1920 anymore. It's tough.
• Davey Johnson on The Goon Squad?: "The bench has been outstanding and it's really been... the guys that have taken the brunt of it, a lot if it has been young guys that aren't really experienced at that kind of role a la [Steve] Lombardozzi. Tyler Moore hasn't been here that long. But certainly [Chad] Tracy. But now a lot of my bench is playing everyday with [Roger] Bernadina* and [Mark] DeRosa being hurt, so I mean, [the bench] was put together more for if someday did get hurt for two or three days, they could step in and we wouldn't have that big a drop-off. And it was put together to be a more offensive bench, and it's shown that capability. And it has been very flexible. [Xavier] Nady had a little pull in here [oblique]. Some other guys have been less fortunate with their injuries, but I liked my bench coming out of Spring. I just wish that it wasn't playing as much as it is..."
• LINK: "Putting aside Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper, this week’s resumption of the Philly-Nats series is still getting plenty of attention, for strictly baseball reasons." - "Philly sports mag asks if it’s time for Phillies fans to hate the Nats" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post
• Davey Johnson on Xavier Nady's oblique: "We've kind of held him back, but he had kind of an oblique that was getting treated every day. I think he's pretty close to being okay now and now that he's feeling okay and swinging the bat okay I'm probably going to expand his duties as far as playing time."
* Not sure about any injury to Roger Bernadina, maybe Davey Johnson misspoke, not sure.