On Friday afternoon, Washington Nationals' second baseman Danny Espinosa appeared on Sirius/XM's MLB Network Radio show "Inside Pitch" with Casey Stern and former Nats' GM Jim Bowden, who started the interview by telling the 23-year-old shortstop that his was, in fact, the last contract that Mr. Bowden had negotiated with Espinosa's agent Scott Boras before he stepped down as the Nationals' general manager. Mr. Bowden said that the timing of Espinosa's signing is what really allowed him to get to the major leagues on a fairly accelerated pace, and he asked the '08 3rd Rounder out of Long Beach State University to describe the process of moving through the system and making the transition to second base once he finally got the call:
Danny Espinosa: "Right when I signed I went out, and it had been a long summer and I didn't get to play at all, so I wanted to go play right away, and I went out and I went up to Vermont and I played in the end of the short season and went to "Instructs" and I was able to start the next season off in [Class-A] Potomac and I was very excited about everything and always worked hard, you know, the road trips are tough in the minors and just a lot of fun, I learned a lot going up through the minors and going into Double-A, all my coaches constantly teaching me, from Troy Gingrich to Jerry Brown, I got to play for Randy Knorr and I got to play for Trent Jewett, and all those coaches taught me a lot, so I think that was a big reason in why I developed quick and I was able to get up here real soon. And my position change has gone well, I've adjusted to second base real easily, and I thought it was going to be a little bit tougher cause I haven't played there in forever, but it's gone really well and I'm feeling very comfortable over there."
After the JUMP: Turning DP's; Adjusting to the Majors; Adam Dunn; Goals for season...
• Danny Espinosa on turning double plays from second after playing short:
Danny Espinosa: "The double play actually hasn't been too hard. I work on it every day, Ian [Desmond] and I go out there and while we take our ground balls we always take some time out every day in BP and turn our double plays so we get more used to each other every day, and I really don't think it's been too tough. [Desmond's] very good about giving me good feeds and, you know, now I know what it's like on second base to give the shortstop a good feed, because when I was over there if I got a slow feed I know the runner was going to get on me right away, so knowing that I like to give Ian the ball quick so he can get rid of the ball and get out of the way."
• Footwork at second, worrying about runner coming at second:
Danny Espinosa: "That hasn't been too bad actually, I try to go to a different spot every time, I go where the ball takes me, but I also try to not always go in the same spot so the base runners can't guess at where I'm going to go and I'm able to move around so I can stay out of the way."
• Future at short or second?
Danny Espinosa: "They haven't said anything about shortstop, I think that they've made it pretty clear that I'm going to play second base, and I'm very happy playing here, I have a great time out there, it doesn't matter where I'm playing, I enjoy turning the double play, so wherever I can play I'll play."
• How important is Adam Dunn for the team?:
Danny Espinosa: "I think Adam would be huge to have in the clubhouse because he keeps the clubhouse loose, he's a good guy, everybody has respect for him, but at the same time he respects everybody. He's very nice to everybody, he's been great to me, I know that, but as a hitter you have to him. He's got the power, he gets on base, his on base percentage is real high, he drives in all the runs, and we need a big guy like that in the middle of the order to protect [Ryan Zimmerman] and to help the other hitters as well, cause I think he can help a lot of guys."
• Espinosa on Zimmerman:
Danny Espinosa: "He's one third baseman that has a lot of range. He gets to a lot of balls over there and he gets the ball to second base as well for a double play, he gets it very quick, I'm never worried about a runner being on me, because he gets rid of the ball and I think he knows the importance of getting it there quick. He's a lot of fun to play with, he's got the bat, obviously, everybody sees that, but he's got the Gold Glove, and to have a good defense out there and have him playing hard, and showing other guys how to play is great to have out on the field."
• Goals for the rest of the year?:
Danny Espinosa: "I would say most of it would be hitting, just to be able to stay within my approach, to see good pitches and just stay within my approach. If I can do that I think my hitting's going to be alright. Sometimes I tend to get away from my approach, and that's where my strikeouts come from, but I've gotten back to that a little bit, it's coming back right now and I've worked real hard with [Hitting Coach] Rick Eckstein, and the coaches have been out there helping me a lot, and my approach is starting to come back, I'm starting to get more confidence back into it, but that's really the main thing, I need to trust myself here and know that what I was doing in the minors will work here too."