When Danny Espinosa needed a week to rest his wrist after discovering a loose bone chip was causing pain and inflammation, Steve Lombardozzi filled in quite nicely as the Nationals' starting second baseman.
In five starts from May 24-28, Lombardozzi went 6-for-20 with four RBI, two doubles, and three runs. Washington saw a spark they perhaps hadn't seen quite yet from Espinosa who holds a .163 average through 40 games.
But despite performing well as a replacement, Lombardozzi was sent back to the bench when Espinosa returned. Manager Davey Johnson said he wants to see how Espinosa fares after resting the hand for a few days and then go from there.
"[Lombardozzi's] a heck of a player. He's played awfully well," Johnson said.
"Danny Espinosa is certainly capable of playing well too. I think they're all playing well. We'll see how it goes. We'll see how he handles playing with a hand not 100 percent. I'll make the decision then."
Johnson said Lombardozzi has certainly proved himself and is still a big asset for the Nationals.
"He's a valuable part of this ballclub. He can play infield, outfield. He plays a heck of a second base," he said.
Johnson hasn't had a conversation with Lombardozzi about the situation, but said they are on the same page.
"I made comments in the papers so I think he probably read them," he said.
*Jayson Werth made a rehab appearance with the Potomac Nationals on Wednesday, going 1-for-2 in three innings. Johnson said the plan is for Werth to play five innings Thursday night, seven the next, and nine the following day. He is not expected to be ready for Sunday in Atlanta.
"He played three innings. He went about 60 percent he said. We'll know a little more today. He's going to play five innings today."
*Bryce Harper's knee has made progress, according to Johnson.
"I think it's lessened enough to where he feels a lot better about it," he said.
Johnson said Harper is aiming to play on Friday against the Braves, but it will depend on how his workouts go Thursday.