Thursday, December 16, 2010

More From Riggleman On Jayson Werth & His Projected Lineup

After yesterday's introductory Press Conference with Jayson Werth, Nats320 followed up with Our Manager Jim Riggleman on his earlier comments that he could see Werth was an up and coming player in 2004. At that time, Riggleman was coaching for The Los Angeles Dodgers and The Toronto Blue Jays had just traded Jayson to L.A.

Here are those comments and few others from Jim about his projected lineup for 2011:

Riggleman: At the time I was with The Dodgers, we saw a very special athlete, thin, wiry, strong, could run, throw and do it all. When he came over (to L.A.), we got him from Toronto, and I remember Shawn Green was then on the team (The Dodgers).  Green was very good friends with Carlos Delgado. Carlos got ahold of Green and told him: ‘Hey, this guy you are going to get should be an All-Star. This guy really has a chance to be good.’ Werth’s playing time hadn’t manifested itself then to everyday. And when he got to The Dodgers there was a setback here and there. But you could see what Delgado was talking about. You saw his athleticism and speed on the field. And you saw the ball jump off his bat. Thankfully, he kept persevering and he became an All-Star.
Nats320: He also comes across as being a very intense player.
Riggleman: Yeah, I think so. He certainly always showed that against us. But it a good way, not unprofessional or antagonistic toward anyone or anything. He just plays hard every single time he is out on the field. He grinds out at-bats. He battles pitchers and opponents. He comes to play. So to do what he’s accomplished you have to be intense. However you display it, you have to be intense on the field. 
Nats320: Considering who you have right now on the roster, understanding additional changes may be coming, where do you see him batting in your lineup?
Riggleman: 3rd or 4th. Again, those things can change. But if we had a game tomorrow, he and Ryan (Zimmerman) would be three and four, in no particular order.
Nats320: With Adam Dunn now departed, do you feel you need a power hitting left handed batter in your lineup?
Riggleman: No. I think that would be welcomed. But you just need guys that can hit right handed pitching. So if our right-handed  hitters can hit right handed pitching then it doesn’t have to be a left-handed hitter.  Generally, there is some left-handed balance in the lineup, but I can name a few teams that are almost exclusively right-handed that went to the post-season and did some great things. You have to look at the numbers. You see what guys have done against left-handers and what guys have done against right-handers. Quite often, the right-handers fair pretty well against right-handed pitching. 
Nats320: So, if Nyjer Morgan is penciled in in center, Werth is in right, is Josh Willingham your left-fielder right now?
Riggleman: Yes, Willingham is in left, Nyjer and Werth (across the outfield). Again, these things can change, but that is where we would open up (in spring training).
Nats320: To win, most every team has to be strong up the middle. Do you think you are getting there now?
Riggleman: Yes. I think in September we were outstanding up the middle. Between Pudge Rodriguez and (Wilson) Ramos behind the plate, (Danny) Espinosa and (Ian) Desmond and Morgan, I thought we played really good defense up the middle. They all just need more time to play together.

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