Roger Bernadina was back in the Nationals clubhouse on Wednesday morning, unpacking his things from a large equipment bag emblazoned with the Dutch flag and putting on his Washington jersey for the first time in nearly a month.
He traveled to Taiwan for the opening round of the World Baseball Classic, then Japan for the second round and San Francisco for the championship round. The Netherlands toppled baseball juggernaut Cuba to advance to the championship round as one of the final four teams — yet another accomplishment for the burgeoning baseball power. The Netherlands fell to eventual-champion Dominican Republic, 4-1, on Monday and Bernadina arrived in Florida on Tuesday night.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “The only thing is it was little bit far away. We were all excited to be a part of it. It was great.”
Bernadina now has to get back up to speed with his teammates. Before he left camp on Feb. 24, he hadn’t yet appeared in a spring training game. Nationals Manager Davey Johnson is leaning heavily on his regular players this week, so there may be little opportunity to get Bernadina playing time.
But with 10 games, there is still some time to get the backup outfielder at-bats. While the team was on the road in Jupiter, he and Wilson Ramos were headed to minor league camp to get at-bats. Bernadina admitted that, even though he played in competitive games early, he still needs to catch up. In spring training, there’s plenty of time to tweak swings or practice as opposed to the WBC.
“It’s different because after a [spring] game you can go in the cage and hit and do whatever you want to do,” he said. “But it’s intense, right after the game. Really you can’t work on something. But here, say you go 0 for 4, you can go work on something in the cage. It’s different.”
He said his right wrist, which was hit by a pitch in the second round of the tournament and held him out of two games, is fine and not an issue.