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Posted at 03:22 PM ET, 07/02/2011

Davey Johnson hopes to be calming force for Ian Desmond’s bat

Manager Davey Johnson knows how to deal with hitters who are slumping. Before Saturday’s double-header, Johnson said he would spend extra time in the batting cage with Ian Desmond, who hasn’t found a consistent groove at the plate this season.

“I have all the confidence in the world in him,” Johnson said. “And we’ve had that conversation before.”

Desmond, who is batting .222 this season, started the season as leadoff hitter before falling to seventh in the lineup after going 0-13 through the Nationals’ first three games. Since April, Desmond has dropped lower in the batting order, while averaging .250 this season with runners in scoring position.

Desmond showed signs of consistency when he matched a club season-high with a 11-game hitting streak in early June, also a career best. He increased his average to a season-high .240 after finishing 2 for 3 at the plate against Baltimore.

After the hot start to the month, Desmond fell into another slump, mustering only three hits in his last 34 plate appearances. Desmond, who is 0 for 7 over the last three games, recorded his last hit against the Angels on June 27.

“I think he’s just a little overly aggressive at home plate kind of like when he broke into the league last year,” Johnson said before Saturday’s game. “He was over aggressive in the field. Now he’s gotten real patient and very smart in the field. I would like to see him carry that to the plate ... I expect him to get going and get hot.”

By Shemar Woods  |  03:22 PM ET, 07/02/2011

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