For those of you following the Spring Training story lines, you are already familiar with the big four:
- "Living legend" Stephen Strasburg is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and is expected to pitch a full season. He is already looking good in Spring Training and threw a live batting practice session yesterday. This kid is so good, he even struck out The Shark!
- Bryce Harper is in camp and is fighting for a starting job in the outfield. Rumor has it he has been seen with eye black in the shape of a Shark.
- Ryan Zimmerman's contract extension! We're all happy that "The Face of the Franchise" will be a National until 2012. Apparently, one of his demands was to have the locker next to Bernadina because "he is, like, the coolest guy I know, and that nickname is SWEET!"
And the biggest Spring Training story line...
4. HOW WILL ROGER "THE SHARK" BERNADINA DO?
Will he get traded? Will be waived and picked up by another team? Will he make the 25 man roster as a 4th or even 5th outfielder? Will he dominate Spring Training and finally solidify a starting spot, sending everyone's least favorite player, ricK anKiel to the bench? Baseball fans everywhere are on the edge of their seat waiting to hear the fate of their favorite aquatic-predator-nicknamed player.
Today we got some inside info from our old pal Bill "NOT SPEED RACER!" Ladson (please continue to tweet, write, call, mail letters, etc. to Bill imploring him to stop using the Speed Racer nickname and embrace "The Shark" like the rest of America, nay, the WORLD.) Here's the article reprinted for your connivence and without permission (when you call him The Shark, we promise to be more polite, Bill!).
Nats looking for Bernadina to be consistent
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina is out of Minor League options, so it will be interesting to see what role he'll play this season.
There is a possibility that Bernadina could be traded, although one baseball source said recently that the Nationals are not actively trying to deal him.
If Bryce Harper doesn't make the team out of Spring Training, there is a possibility that Bernadina could find himself in a right-field platoon with Mark DeRosa.
Bernadina is coming off a disappointing season in 2011, hitting .243 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs. There was even a point in the season where he was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse due to a lack of production.
Hitting coach Rick Eckstein is on a mission to see that Bernadina stays consistent at the plate. Eckstein wants Bernadina to use the entire field to get base hits instead of going for the long ball. Bernadina seems to go into prolonged slumps whenever he tries to hit home runs.
"He can slot in the top of the order and be an on-base percentage guy," Eckstein said. "He can bunt, he can run, he can use the entire field. But then he has that power component, and sometimes that power component takes over. He has the bigger swings, he swings at pitches he shouldn't be swinging at. Definitely, our goal is to have him reach his potential.
"Bernadina is a special athlete. We've all seen what he is capable of doing, but he needs to package it every day. We love him. His athleticism is tremendous. There is no doubt in my mind that he can be a complete-package player. But showing up every day, bringing that package to the park and utilizing it for the team every day is the challenge. I think he is up to it."
Yes, of course he is "up to it," Rick! Have you read everything Bernadina can do?
More to come.