WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina acknowledged that during his first few callups to the big leagues, he was in awe of his surroundings and didn't make the necessary adjustments to be successful in the batter's box.
But since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on April 28, Bernadina has taken advantage of his everyday status in right field. Entering Wednesday's action, Bernadina was hitting .285 with four home runs and 20 RBIs. In his past 16 games, Bernadina is 21-for-61 [.344] with two home runs and eight RBIs.
Bernadina said experience in the Majors and hard work are the reasons he is giving opposing pitchers problems of late.
"Right now I'm doing much better than I did before," Bernadina said. "I just want to be productive. Now I'm focused on the opportunity. I'm not trying to do too much. It's more experience in the big leagues. My mindset is different now than it was in the past.
"When I first came to the big leagues, I wasn't used to the [big-league atmosphere] and I didn't adjust to the breaking pitches. Now I have adjusted. They are throwing me inside and I have adjusted. Those are the little things that I didn't do before. I'm staying focused."
With Cristian Guzman getting the day off, manager Jim Riggleman put Bernadina in the second spot in the batting order against the Royals because of the latter's patience at the plate. For several weeks, Riggleman thought about putting Bernadina near the top of the order, but the skipper prefers to put Bernadina down in the lineup to drive in runs.
Bernadina said he doesn't have a preference on where he hits.
"I'm not going to worry about it right now," Bernadina said. "I'm going to let the manager make the decision. Whatever I need to do to help the ballclub, it sounds good to me."