The Washington Post

Laynce Nix out tonight, but he’s looking to start facing lefties

While he has dealt with the injury all season and figures he will have to fight it for the remainder, too, Nix is confident he can manage it without missing extended time. The Nationals have not sent Nix for any medical tests on the Achilles’. Nix feels the tendon flare up sometimes during quick start-and-stop movements, and he will just rest it when it feels like he has to.

“I don’t think it’s going to totally recover,” Nix said. “It’s kind of a tough balancing act.”

Though Nix was a non-roster free agent in the spring, losing him would hurt the Nationals. He has become their regular cleanup hitter and is third in the Nationals in home run (12) and second in OPS (.851) behind only Michael Morse.

Nix has sat against left-handed starting pitchers this year, but both he and new manager Davey Johnson would like to change that. Talking to Nix about playing against lefties, “was on my list of things to do,” Johnson said. Nix said his reputation as a hitter who shouldn’t face lefties is not warranted.

“Early in my career, I faced them all the time,” Nix said. “It wasn’t a big deal. I had an injury, didn’t play a lot and then I didn’t face them. So I never saw them, and then it became an issue. When I’m healthy and I’m seeing the ball, I want to face lefties. I know I could.”

Unless he meant the minor leagues, the numbers do not necessarily support Nix’s memory – in his first three major league season, Nix hit .196/.237/.286 in 112 at-bats against lefties. Certainly, though, he has not a chance to prove he can. Last year, Nix had 16 at-bats against left-handed pitching and got five hits. This year, he is 2 for 19 with two doubles.

“I do not like having a guy hitting in the four hole that I’ve got to pinch-hit for,” Johnson said. “I know the numbers say one thing, but a guy is swinging the bat like he’s swinging it, I think he can hit anything.”

Johnson, who also managed Laynce’s brother, Jayson, for a Team USA event, anticipates chatting with Nix about playing against left-handers more often. He was told that Nix thinks he can do it.

“I knew he was going to tell me that,” Johnson said. “I know the Nix boys, and I know they both think they can do anything.”

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.


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