In Sunday's finale loss, Desmond went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, extending his dry spell.
The Nationals don't want Desmond to change his approach at the plate. They want him to be aggressive, according to hitting coach Rick Eckstein. The team wants him to be the player who hit .326 while batting in the second spot in the order last year.
"He is not a prototypical leadoff guy, because he has a chance to hit the ball into the gap or hit home runs," Eckstein said. "We don't want him taking good pitches and all that stuff. We want him to be more of the hitter that he is. He hasn't put his swing on the ball for the last two games, but he is showing signs that he is getting it back.
"Ian is so dynamic. I don't want to take that away from him. We don't want to put handcuffs on him all the time and say, 'OK, you have to work the count.' He has a chance to be dynamic with his bat. If we keep putting handcuffs on him, some of that stuff may not play to his advantage."