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Posted at 07:44 PM ET, 07/27/2012

Jesus Flores out of lineup for ‘mental break’

(J Pat Carter - AP)
Manager Davey Johnson took Jesus Flores out of the lineup again tonight to give the catcher “a mental break” as he fights through a rough slump. Flores is hitting .195/.220/.292 in his last 119 plate appearances with 20 strikeouts, and Johnson has grown concerned about his mental approach.

“I just think he’s fighting himself too much offensively,” Johnson said. “He needs to relax. He’s pressing. I just said, ‘Hey, relax. Come sit next to me.’ ”

Including tonight, Flores has started only two of the Nationals’ past seven games, sitting in favor of Sandy Leon. He missed two games with a sore lower back, a minor injury that precluded him from taking batting practice for days. Flores will be back in the lineup again tomorrow, Johnson said, but he just wants him to not worry about his slump.

“When you’re worried about your stance, you’re worried about your approach, it’s really hard to hit,” Johnson said. “It’s called pressing. ... He worries about everything under the sun.”

Leon, one of four Nationals catchers who has played alongside Flores this season, has filled in well. Since replacing injured Jhonatan Solano on the roster, Leon has gone 5 for 17 with three walks and a double.

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