Brian Goodwin missed 57 games between April 15th and June 1st, as the 27-year-old worked his way back from a wrist injury he suffered on a diving play in the outfield early this season.
Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton have returned over the last few weeks as well, and they’ve been trying to get up to speed with the rest of the league and find their rhythm after they each missed significant time, but Murphy and Eaton have been starting on a regular basis.
Goodwin has appeared in 14 games since returning from the Disabled List, but he’s started just three, and he’s had a total of 23 plate appearances over that stretch, over which he’s 2 for 20 with a double, two walks, and eight strikeouts.
Juan Soto, Michael A. Taylor, Bryce Harper, and now Eaton and Goodwin are all in the mix in the Nationals’ outfield, and Washington’s first-year skipper Davey Martinez is tasked with the difficult job of finding time and at bats for everyone.
Goodwin is trying to get his timing back at the plate in a limited amount of opportunities.
“It’s very hard,” Goodwin acknowledged on Saturday. “It’s not easy. Of course, like nothing in this game [is]. But you’ve kind of got to roll with it. It’s my situation right now, so make the most of it, and I do everything I can to put myself in the best position. Do stuff in the cage, go out, I’m going out for optional BP in a minute, so I just do everything I can to prepare like an everyday player, and have myself ready when I get a chance to step up to the plate, but it’s definitely not easy, man, but you do what you’ve got to do.”
Rehabbing from a wrist injury, which he described as an issue with, “... some tendons, some ligaments, and a bone bruise,” wasn’t easy either. He was really limited in what he could do, so he did, “a lot of running.”
“A lot of running, a lot of conditioning,” Goodwin said.
“Staying in shape. A lot of resting too. With a wrist it’s kind of hard to even play catch a lot.
“So it’s just taking it a day at a time, letting your body heal and get back to where you feel confident that you can do what you need to do at a high level.”
The bone bruise aspect of the injury was particularly troublesome.
“Yeah, and there’s not really a timetable for it, it just kind of heals on its own when it wants to, but it’s good now.”
While he’s doing what he can in the cage and in batting practice, he said he’s also soaking up what he can from his teammates and coaches, including the Nationals’ hitting coach, Kevin Long, who’s had a big influence on some left-handed hitters around the league like Goodwin’s teammate Daniel Murphy. Has any specific advice he’s received from Long had an impact?
“I just like to be around him,” Goodwin said.
“He’s constantly talking hitting and just dropping gems. It’s nothing in particular, but just from hearing him talk and hearing him think, and what he thinks and what he sees when he looks at guys, just stuff like that that you can pick up and use to your advantage, or at least try out and give you an upper hand on some of the stuff.”
He’s also always talking to and watching his teammates to pick up what he can from them.
“When I’m not in here [in the clubhouse] I’m usually sitting in the cage,” Goodwin said. “So people come down there and do their work, swing, and I get a chance to watch and I get a chance to ask them questions and pick their brain about what’s going, so that’s constantly what I try to do.”
Pedro Severino talked during the series in Yankee Stadium about asking Long if he could take part in batting practice with Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, so he could work with and watch them to see what he could pick up, noting that the fact that they were both left-handed hitters didn’t make a difference for the right-handed hitting catcher.
“It doesn’t matter,” Severino explained.
“I just want to see how [they] swing, how it‘s coming out, how they drive the ball away, and how they stay behind the ball and stay on their legs and all that stuff.”
“You can always learn something from guys on either side of the plate,” he said. “Guys have success different ways, and just because they’re not on your side of the plate, they might do something that makes sense to you or they might say something that makes sense to you that you can use. Just being around it and seeing it and having the opportunity to talk to them, it all helps.”