PHILADELPHIA -- With center fielder Nyjer Morgan suspended for eight games starting Friday, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said Justin Maxwell will split time in center field with Roger Bernadina.
Riggleman declined to say if this was Maxwell's last chance to show that he could hit on a consistent basis. Maxwell has spent parts of three seasons in the big leagues and has a .206 career average with nine home runs and 24 RBIs.
The Nationals were hoping that Maxwell would make the big league club out of Spring Training, but he was inconsistent with the bat and spent most of the season with Triple-A Syracuse.
Riggleman acknowledged that he is rooting for Maxwell because he is a "class individual."
"I really want Maxwell to take off with some of these opportunities and use it as a period to show us he is the real deal and ready to get after it," Riggleman said. "He is going to get a fair number of games anyway because we are going to see a couple of left-handers from the Astros. I'm going to put it on him to take this opportunity and run with it."
Desmond wants Riggleman back in '11
PHILDELPHIA -- Shortstop Ian Desmond said Friday that he wants Jim Riggleman as manager of the Nationals next year.
Desmond feels that Riggleman hasn't been given enough time to improve the club. Riggleman has managed the Nationals since the second half of last year. He has a career 95-126 record with the Nationals, while the club is 62-84 entering Friday's action this season.
"This year, he set the blue print and I believe in what he says," Desmond said. "I think he knows a lot about baseball. I think he is a good manager."
Desmond said a lot of people expected the Nationals to play better this season, but he tells others not to blame that on Riggleman.
"It's nice to have someone who is with you through good and bad," Desmond said. "When we lose a game, Riggs is in there talking to us and comes around and says, 'Hey, keep your head up. We'll go after him tomorrow.' There are a lot of mangers who just go in a corner and don't say a whole lot.
"But it means a lot to me to have someone say something when times are tough and things are going bad. He never abandoned ship all year. He stuck with what he did all year. He stuck with his plan. I want to see him be successful. I think he will be a successful manager."
Shortstop Desmond looks up to Livan
PHILDELPHIA -- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said he looks up to many of the veteran players on the Nationals. But the guy he admires the most is right-hander Livan Hernandez. According to Desmond, Hernandez knows every aspect of the game of baseball.
Desmond said he loves the way Hernandez talks about his game plan and sticks to it. Hernandez has been the Nationals' best pitcher this season, going 10-11 with a 3.66 ERA.
"He is a pitcher, but he can hit, he is an athlete, he has been in the game a long time," Desmond said. "He loves the game just as much as I do. I hover toward those kind of people. That's what I like. I like to talk about baseball. He is just so smart."
Listach to manage in Ponce in offseason
PHILDELPHIA -- After the 2010 season comes to an end, Nationals third-base coach Pat Listach will manage Ponce in Puerto Rico this offseason. Listach said he was able to get the job because of Nationals farm director Doug Harris. Listach will mange Nats infielder Danny Espinosa and pitcher Corey Van Allen on that team.