Roger Bernadina’s run in the World Baseball Classic ended last with the Netherlands’ 4-1 semifinal loss last night to the Dominican Republic. Bernadina, slated as the Nationals’ fourth outfielder, will return to Nationals spring training after spending almost an entire month traveling to Taiwan and San Francisco for the event.
As the Netherlands reached the championship round, Bernadina went 3 for 22 with a double, a walk and three strikeouts. Bernadina played in six of the Netherlands’ eight games, slowed by a sore wrist after getting hit by a pitch March 10. Bernadina batted third and started in center field last night, going 1 for 4.
When Bernadina returns to camp, likely on Wednesday, Manager Davey Johnson will have a challenge in getting Bernadina enough at-bats to prepare for the season. While Bernadina received at-bats in the WBC, he didn’t get as many as his teammates
Some regulars have already had roughly 50 at-bats this spring, and Johnson has given bench players ample playing time than anyone else to keep them sharp – Steve Lombardozzi leads the Nationals with 52 at-bats. Tyler Moore has 46 and Chad Tracy has 35. Other than catchers Wilson Ramos and Kurt Suzuki, all of the Nationals who figure to make the opening day roster have taken at least 28 at-bats.
So, Bernadina has some catching to do. Problem is, Johnson also plans to play his regulars on a daily basis for the next week, leaving them in games both at home and on the road for nine innings at a time.
Bernadina lives in the Netherlands in the offseason. He was born and raised on Curacao.