The opportunity Roger Bernadina received upon Jayson Werth breaking his wrist already appears to have elapsed. For the third straight game against a right-handed starting pitcher, Steve Lombardozzi will play left field and Bernadina will begin the game on the bench.
Manager Davey Johnson has wanted to get Lombardozzi into the lineup because his ability to get on base — he has a .385 on-base percentage — makes him a strong candidate to lead off. In order to do so, the Nationals seem to have moved on from Bernadina.
“Right now, I’ve got a guy that’s playing very well,” Johnson said. “His natural position is second base. We have a guy there we need to get right — and he’s starting to get right — in [Danny] Espinosa. Lombo’s on-base percentage is real good, so he’s an ideal leadoff hitter to sit the table for the middle of my lineup. Bernadina has been hot and cold. It’s our best foot forward for us to win ballgames.”
Bernadina flashed his potential in the games immediately following Werth’s injury, but he is 2 for his last 16 with a walk and six strikeouts. If he’s not starting against right-handers, his place on the team seems awfully limited. When asked about Bernadina’s role, Johnson paused for roughly eight seconds before answering.
“I still think he’s got a lot of talent,” Johnson said. “I still think when things get a little more settled here, and Michael Morse comes back, I’d still like to stick him in the lineup because he can make things happen, too. I expect all these guys to stay ready to help us win ballgames. Like I say, 25 guys are important.”
Lombardozzi started twice in left field against the Phillies earlier this week after having played left only once since the first week of the season. Lombardozzi, who only started playing outfield this spring, has handled every play to him without issue.