VIERA, Fla. -- After Friday's loss to the Astros, manager Davey Johnson said that outfielder Roger Bernadina was "going through the doldrums." It didn't help that Bernadina was hitting .189 with an RBI after that game.
After taking Saturday off because of a toe injury, Bernadina was back in the lineup Sunday and Monday and has been on a tear, going a combined 5-for-6 with two home runs and six RBIs to raise his batting average to .279. It helps that he is hitting the ball all over the field.
"Early in the spring, he was swinging well. Then he got into a little funk. Now he is coming back, attacking the ball," Johnson said. "With his speed, you are looking for him to bunt, hit a few little soft ones in there. But he has tremendous power. He is a big, strong guy. He doesn't have a whole lot of baseball background, so he is still learning about himself. I like what I've been seeing the last two or three times out."
The left-handed-hitting Bernadina, who is out of Minor League options, is fighting to be one of Washington's bench players, and Johnson said he is looking to have more of a left-handed presence off the bench.
Asked if he was worried about making the team, Bernadina said, "Nah, I don't worry about that. I want to get in a groove to help the ballclub somehow -- get on base. Whatever it is, I'll see what happens. I don't worry about that right now."
Nats hope LaRoche can see game action soon
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, who has missed most of Spring Training because of a sore left foot, was seen jogging on the outfield grass Monday morning. He was making cuts to his left without any problems. LaRoche then took infield practice before calling it a day.
On Tuesday, LaRoche plans to run the bases before getting Minor League at-bats. The Nationals are hoping LaRoche can play in a Grapefruit League game on Thursday, when they play split-squad games against the Tigers and Braves.
"[The foot] feels a lot better," LaRoche said. "Again because of Spring Training, [games missed] have been prolonged -- just to be cautious. I would hope sitting on it for a week and not turning -- just running straight, not stressing at all -- I'm hoping that [the pain] is gone or close to gone. I don't know if we'll find out a whole lot today. Probably tomorrow, when they let me [run the] bases."
Manager Davey Johnson announced once the season starts, LaRoche will be in a platoon at first base with Mark DeRosa. What was LaRoche's reaction?
"No comment. That's how I feel about it," LaRoche said.
"I don't have him out there yet, and we are having a conversation about playing time on the Major League level. That's great," Johnson said after he was told about LaRoche's reaction.
Johnson said he planned to have LaRoche start the season as a platoon player before the foot injury occurred. Johnson was thinking about LaRoche's left shoulder, which caused the left-handed hitter to miss most of last season.
"It's not like I'm saying, 'OK, at this stage, you are a platoon player.' He has these injuries," Johnson said. "I want to make sure he gets some rest, because it's a grinding schedule. I wanted him to know what I was thinking. He can prove me wrong. ... This is all about injuries and taking care of them."
Wang likely to start season on DL; Lannan No. 5
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang is expected to start the season on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring.
That means, according to manager Davey Johnson, left-hander John Lannan will be the fifth starter in the rotation, while Ross Detwiler will work out of the bullpen. Lannan's first start most likely will not come until April 11, against the Mets in New York. Lannan led Washington in wins last season, with 10.
"Anytime you are talking about a severe hammy, I always think it's going to take a month or six weeks," Johnson said about Wang.
Wang is already ahead of schedule, according to Johnson. He is already throwing on flat ground but is experiencing a sore left calf, which is normal, the skipper said.
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.