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Nationals give Clint Robinson his shot; Robinson making most of opportunity

After he got limited at bats in two major league seasons before this year, Washington Nationals' infielder/outfielder Clint Robinson has made the most of the opportunity he's been given in his first sustained run in the majors.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After eight minor league seasons and a total of 3,836 minor league and 73 major league plate appearances, 30-year-old Washington Nationals' first baseman and outfielder Clint Robinson finally connected for his first MLB home run in the Nats' June 11th game in Milwaukee's Miller Park.

"We saw what he did in the minor leagues for his career hitting-wise. We knew that he had a good, compact, simple approach that would tend to have success off the bench. -Mike Rizzo on Clint Robinson on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.

Robinson, 30, hit 141 homers in the minors for the Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers' minor league affiliates, putting up a combined .302/.381/.510 line in 921 minor league games, but before this season, the 2007 25th Round pick played in just thirteen major league games.

After a .312/.401/.534, 31 double, 18 home run campaign at Triple-A in the Dodgers' system in 2014, Robinson signed a 1-year/$525,000 deal with the Nationals this winter.

Finding the left-handed hitting and throwing infielder/outfielder, Nats GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN this week, was a product of, "great scouting by our professional scouts."

"Doug Harris did a great job of signing Clint Robinson," Rizzo said.

"We saw what he did in the minor leagues for his career hitting-wise. We knew that he had a good, compact, simple approach that would tend to have success off the bench. Those type of approaches do."

Robinson made the Nationals' Opening Day roster after a .333/.404/.608 Spring, but started slowly in limited at bats over the first month and a half of the regular season, going 9 for 41 (.220/.256/.317) in 27 games, six starts and 43 PAs between April 8th and May 19th.

"He has a simple swing," Williams said. "Repeatable swing. That's why he's had success throughout his minor league career." -Matt Williams on Clint Robinson

As's Andrew Simon noted last week, Robinson came off the bench exclusively between April 24th and May 19th, going 2 for 14 with a double, a walk and three Ks over that stretch (.143/.200/.214).

When Jayson Werth went on the DL, however, some opportunities opened up.

Between May 22nd and July 1st, Robinson appeared in 27 games and started 22, putting up a .288/.380/.450 line with four doubles, three home runs, 12 walks and 10 Ks in 92 PAs.

Matt Williams talked last week about what Robinson has provided the Nationals so far in the first half and what has allowed him to produce offensively given regular at bats.

"He has a simple swing," Williams said. "Repeatable swing."

"That's why he's had success throughout his minor league career. He was fantastic in Spring Training for us and he continues to be good in whatever situation we put him.

"Whether it's off the bench or whether he starts in right field or left field or at first base.

"He's shown a little bit of power lately, that's probably a product of more at bats and better timing and that's the way every hitter is, but he's been very productive for us so we'll get, hopefully, more opportunities to get him in there to play."

Robinson has played fourteen games in left, eight in right and eight at first, but wherever he's played, he's hit, though Williams said he sees the left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder as more of a hitter for average than a slugger.

"He's a little bit of a hybrid," Williams said, "because he does have a really good eye at the plate.

"He's not a true power hitter in my view. He's a .300 hitter. It's been .300 every step of the way at every level he's played, so I would view him as a .300 hitter, a guy that has the ability to hit the ball to all fields with power.

"I don't see him as a slugger, I see him as a good at bat when he steps up there."