Nationals Try To Toss Aside Controversy

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The day after a pair of chair-slamming incidents, the Washington Nationals clubhouse was quiet again yesterday at RFK Stadium.

Catcher Brian Schneider, who got upset with reporters before storming off after Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Mets, met separately with General Manager Jim Bowden and club president Stan Kasten before last night's game against the Braves and, according to one team official, told them he should have handled the situation better.

Schneider, given the night off against left-hander Chuck James, was not available to comment. "That's the kind of reaction sometimes you're going to get after a tough loss," Manager Frank Robinson said. "I would think it's something we can put behind us very easily and should put behind us very easily. I think the situation is taken care of on this end."

The other incident Sunday involved utilityman Damian Jackson, who tossed a chair before the game. Jackson said he did not want to comment.

"There was some frustration," Bowden said. "You're playing arguably the best team in the league, certainly the best team in our division, and these guys played them really hard and we lost two out of three and could have won two out of three. . . . This group of players is not going to roll over and play dead."

Kearns Slumping

Right fielder Austin Kearns entered last night's game with just seven hits in his previous 39 at-bats over 11 games to watch his batting average drop to .267. Robinson said he has been working with Kearns on his mechanics but did not want to go into detail, so "when he has some success, I can pat myself on the back. If it doesn't work, I'm not revealing it anyway."

On a more serious note, Robinson added: "You're not always looking for instant results. It's just the idea of a player doing the things mechanically to be successful and that's what I'll be looking at. If he's doing those things, he's going to start hitting." Kearns singled in his first at-bat last night.

Staff writer Barry Svrluga contributed to this report.

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