March 7, 2013 |
VIERA, Fla. — Every day through the past winter, Danny Espinosa began the task of retraining himself the same way. He placed a ball on a tee, thigh-high. He stood in the left-handed batter's box, the spot that had plagued him for much of two seasons. He grabbed the bat with his right hand only, a necessity as a torn rotator cuff healed inside his left shoulder . Gripping the handle with only his bottom hand, Espinosa took 30 or 40 hacks. He aimed to hit groundballs "the right way," he said,...
March 21, 2013 |
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Part of the fabric of a baseball player is the ability to trudge through an arduous season, the longest of all professional sports. This year, the Washington Nationals ' spring training schedule is 34 games, the regular season a marathon of 162 games (if there is not a tie for a playoff spot) and, should they reach the playoffs, they could play a maximum of 20 more games through the end of the World Series. That's 216 games over the span of nine months.
March 13, 2012 |
VIERA, Fla. — Danny Espinosa can still count the swings. He would arrive at the ballpark just after lunch, maybe sooner, as he thought a rookie should. Five rounds of early batting practice — that's 25 swings. Regular batting practice, 30 more. He warmed up in the cage before games, so add another 25 hacks. In college and the minors, Espinosa could not have worked so much. In the majors, there was always a coach to feed him soft toss, a bullpen catcher...
June 16, 2011 |
The calendar has flipped past the midpoint of June, and the Washington Nationals will wake up Friday morning somewhere other than last place . For most franchises, that would mean nothing, really. That last happened for the Nationals on the final day of the 2007 season. They might also wake up sore, from the thrashing pigpile they created around Danny Espinosa at home plate, in the 10th inning, to cap Thursday night's 7-4, walk-off victory over the St....
May 31, 2011 |
As Danny Espinosa trotted around the bases for the second time Tuesday night, Cliff Lee glanced at him as if to wonder, "Who is this guy?" He was looking at the player who, perhaps as much as any hitter, has carried the Washington Nationals this season. Maybe, Lee was watching the next National League rookie of the year. Espinosa's two home runs led the Nationals' six-run barrage against Lee in a 10-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies before 21,107 at...
May 9, 2012 |
PITTSBURGH — Davey Johnson will wear a loss. Washington Nationals players adore their manager because he understands the challenge of hitting a round ball with a round bat in front of thousands of people, when your teammates need you the most, when your nerves are shot and your knuckles turn white. But after he watched the Nationals' 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night, Johnson stood in the visiting manager's office at PNC Park, hands on his hips,...