Roger Bernadina, the rookie who only slugged .384 last season, showed up to camp this week looking more like a linebacker than an outfielder. He reportedly trained in the Netherlands all off-season with a personal trainer and put on more than ten pounds; and by the looks of it, it’s all solid muscle.
Bernadina hopes his fitness improvements will help build endurance. The 26-year-old reportedly felt the effects of fatigue late last season, which he attributes his August and September slump to. Bernadina had a strong first half to his rookie season last year after missing nearly the entire season last year due to injuries. Considering he sat through almost all of 2009, fatigue late in 2010 would be understandable.
By the looks of it, he’s corrected the problem.
Jim Riggleman says that he wants to top of the Nationals batting order to translate to a lot of runs scored. To put it in basic terms, he said that, “in order to score runs, the top of the order needs to be on base,” a basic call to the Nationals batters that they need to walk at a higher rate. Last season, the only Nationals starter to get on base higher than .330 were middle of the order hitters; Dunn, Willingham and Zimmerman. Riggleman, who has already stated he wants Ian Desmond to bat second, wants to see the sophomore shortstop and likely leadoff man Nyjer Morgan to improve upon their .308 and .319 respective on base percentages.
Potential Nationals stopper Henry Rodriguez has hit an early snag in his competition for the closer spot. The 23-year-old Venezuelan was not able to report on time as a result of a minor visa issue. He’s expected to report shortly. The Nats acquired Rodriguez from Oakland in the Josh Willingham deal. Rizzo was interested in the right-handed reliever for his flaming fastball and his strong stuff. The only thing he needs to work on is his control.
Lastly, the Nationals announced that they have removed RHP Luis Atilano from the 40-man roster. The move was to make room for Adam LaRoche, who’s contract was officially approved and processed by Major League Baseball.