WASHINGTON -- The Nationals named infielder Steve Lombardozzi their Minor League Player of the Year and right-hander Brad Peacock their Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the 2011 season. Both players are now in the Major Leagues.
Lombardozzi hit a combined .309 with eight home runs, 52 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 134 games this season with Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg. Lombardozzi posted a .997 fielding percentage, committing just two errors in 597 chances while playing second base, shortstop and third base.
Peacock was an Eastern League All-Star and a participant in this season's XM All-Star Futures Game.
Peacock to likely make a start this coming week
WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Brad Peacock most likely will not pitch in relief when right-hander Stephen Strasburg makes his second start of the season on Sunday, according to manager Davey Johnson.
Instead, Peacock likely will get a start against the Mets this coming week at Citi Field in New York. That would mean that a pitcher already in the rotation would have to be pushed back. Johnson has not announced the date that Peacock will make his first Major League start.
Peacock threw a bullpen session on Friday and plans to have another session Sunday before making the start.
Peacock last pitched on Tuesday, the same day that Strasburg pitched, against the Dodgers. Peacock pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing a run on four hits in a 7-3 loss.
"That was unfair to begin with," Johnson said about Peacock pitching in relief. "I think we are going to have a start [for him] in about three or four days.
Peacock went a combined 15-3 with a 2.39 ERA and 177 strikeouts in 25 games in 2011 with Syracuse and Harrisburg. Peacock, 23, ranks among all Minor League pitchers in wins (tied for second), strikeouts per nine innings (sixth, 10.86) and strikeouts (seventh).
Johnson wants more production from bench
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals arguably have the weakest bench in the National League, statistically speaking. Entering Saturday's action, Washington pinch-hitters are 31-for-171 [.181] with two home runs and 11 RBIs.
The bench was constructed of speed and defense, which manager Davey Johnson is not a fan of. Johnson, who took over as manager in June, wants a bench that can produce runs.
"Last I looked, we were last [in pinch-hitting] by a good margin in our league for production," Johnson said. "We only have  ribbies off the bench, and that is not going to cut it."
While he didn't ignore the bench, Johnson said he spent a lot of time trying to get an understanding of the team's bullpen.
"I really spent my time trying to understand the pitching staff and maybe tweaking it here and there, putting guys in roles and trying to solidify their roles," Johnson said. "I feel like I'm closer to where I want to be on that. I have a good grasp on that going forward.
"Where I haven't spent a lot of time is with the offense. That's something that I have a comfort zone on coming out of Spring Training, and I don't do much during the year. I'm now focusing on some individual guys and talking to them, their approach and things like that. I want to get them to understand more about what they are thinking about when they go up there."
It will be interesting to see what the Nationals will do with their bench during the offseason. Excluding their recent callups, only Jesus Flores, the team's backup catcher, is not a free agent. Outfielder Jonny Gomes could be a free agent if the team doesn't pick up his option.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.