NATIONALS NOTEBOOK

For Schneider, They Aren't Prime Numbers

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 30, 2006

TORONTO, June 29 -- On June 9, Brian Schneider went 3 for 6 against the Philadelphia Phillies, raising his average to .248. It wasn't much, but it was a start, and there was every reason to believe Schneider -- who entered this season with a .256 career average -- was on his way to at least matching that in this, his fifth full major league season.

But since that point, Schneider was just 7 for 46 (.152), dropping his average to .226, heading into Thursday night's game against Toronto. Schneider knows it. He's just trying not to think about it.

"If you worry about it on a day-to-day basis, you're just going to drive yourself crazy," Schneider said. "If you take care of business on the field, it doesn't matter what you're at right now. It's what you're at at the end of the season."

Schneider adopted the don't-worry-about-numbers approach at some point last season. He is a notoriously streaky hitter, and he found himself thinking about his lack of production during his slumps. But just because he's trying to shrug off the numbers doesn't mean he's not aware of them.

"I know where I'm at," Schneider said. "It flashes up all around the stadium. I'm just not going to worry about it."

Schneider, 29, signed a four-year, $16 million contract in the offseason, a deal that, barring a trade, would keep him in Washington through 2009. But in some ways, this has been his most trying season in professional ball. He made his first trip to the disabled list in May, and has thrown out only 22 percent of would-be base stealers -- after leading the National League in that category for three straight years.

"I'm definitely searching," Schneider said.

Hernandez Re-injures Knee

Right-hander Livan Hernandez, whose surgically repaired right knee caused him some problems earlier this year, slightly injured the knee again this week, he said. Hernandez was in the outfield shagging fly balls during batting practice when he felt something in his knee, though not in the same spot that bothered him after surgery.

"I feel it," he said. "It's the first time it's been like this."

Hernandez, though, said the injury would not prevent him from making his next scheduled start on Saturday against Tampa Bay.


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