Danny Espinosa has a history of a low batting average and a high strikeout rate, but he may have found the solution to his hitting woes.
Since the beginning of June, the Nationals second baseman has been working with hitting coach Rick Schu. Espinosa, who endured a rough 2013 season that ended with a stint in the minors, has widened his batting stance and he entered Monday’s game with a team-high .303 average for the month so far.
“It’s helped simplify so there’s not as much movement,” Espinosa said. “It’s something I’m working on and trying to settle into.”
In this past weekend’s four-game series against the Braves, Espinosa posted five hits, two doubles and a walk. He also bunted for a single on Sunday.
“If it’s there and I can take advantage of it to get an inning going, get on base to where we can score a run, then a bunt hit is like hitting a single,” Espinosa said.
Long considered a premier defensive infielder, Espinosa hasn’t recorded an error since May 20. Now that his bat has picked up, it raises the question of what to do with him once Bryce Harper returns from the disabled list.
Manager Matt Williams previously suggested Harper would play left field, with Ryan Zimmerman moving back to the infield at third. Anthony Rendon would then move to second and Espinosa would head back to the bench. But, as Williams said on Sunday, rarely does anything in baseball go to plan.
Espinosa’s recent improvements at the plate should continue to give him enough opportunities moving forward.
“He’s becoming more and more comfortable,” Williams said. “Some time ago he made some changes, he opened up a little bit to see the baseball a little bit better. … He’s seeing it good, which is good for him. He works hard.”