Young Flores learning from slipups
Catcher gets vote of confidence from skipper after discussion
WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Manny Acta said he spoke to catcher Jesus Flores about the mistake the latter made on Tuesday night against the Mets.
In the sixth inning, with Lastings Milledge on second base and no outs, Flores came to the plate and bunted the ball right to pitcher Johan Santana, who easily threw out Flores and Milledge stayed at second base.
Flores, 23, said he was trying to be a team player in trying to advance the runner. Flores was already 2-for-2 with an RBI before the at-bat.
Acta took a deep breath and waited for another out to be made before he had his talk with Flores in the dugout. The two also talked before Wednesday's game against the Mets. Acta also said that Flores probably doesn't have access to stats which showed that he is hitting .370 with runners in scoring position. Flores was informed of that particular stat, as well as being told he is the club's biggest run producer this season.
"His intentions were good, but it wasn't the right one -- he just wanted to move the guy, but he didn't understand that the best way for him to help the club was to swing the bat," Acta said. "We wanted to make sure that it doesn't happen again -- that he knows all the reasons behind it and that he doesn't take it personal. We are trying to teach, not only him, but every one on how to play the game right. He took it very well."
Acta also praised Flores for the job he has done this season. Entering Wednesday's action, Flores was hitting .276 with eight home runs and 52 RBIs. Flores, according to Acta, always follows the game plan when it come to dealing with the pitching staff.
"He takes a lot of pride in [catching]," Acta said. "He is very good. He is very smart."
Even Mets catcher Brian Schneider has watched Flores from afar and has been impressed with what Flores has done this year. In 2007, Flores was Schneider's backup while the two were in Washington.
"He got a chance to play, improve," Schneider said. "He's having a great year this year. It's one of those things where you never know how good he's going to be until he gets a chance to play every day."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.