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09/17/09 8:19 PM ET

Willingham working on breaking slump

Outfielder just 12-for-79 at plate entering Thursday's game

PHILADELPHIA -- Entering Thursday's action against the Phillies, Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham found himself in a 12-for-79 slump [.152] in his past 23 games and has seen his batting average fall to .275.

Willingham and hitting coach Rick Eckstein have come to the conclusion that Willingham isn't doing anything wrong mechanically at the plate, but he is pressing and swinging at bad pitches.

"We are really trying to work on just getting back to seeing the ball the way he was and making sure he is in that right position at the plate, which he is," Eckstein said. "One of things you want to stay away from is pressing. We want him to conduct an at-bat like he was [in July]."

The Nationals are 7-16 during Willingham's slump and it bothers him that he hasn't been able to contribute like he has in the past. During the month of July, Willingham hit .330 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs.

"I'm just not getting hits," Willingham said. "Sometimes there's more that goes into it than that. Sometimes I miss my pitch. I hope to get hits and help the team."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.