WASHINGTON -- Entering Sunday's action, Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa had struck out 11 times in his last 14 at-bats, but manager Davey Johnson was not worried. The skipper pointed out that the Espinosa has been trying too hard and needs to relax.
Johnson said Espinosa reminds him of when Phillies great Mike Schmidt first entered the league in the early 1970s. Schmidt didn't hit for average and struck out a lot.
"[Espinosa] is so driven. He is over trying. He is trying to do too much," Johnson said. "I kind of let him play his way out of it. He is too good a talent. I've been talking to him lately, but I know how driven he is. He takes great care of his body, he is tremendously strong, he watches too many videos, he studies the game. He is a special player.
"I'm not comparing him to a home run hitter like Mike, but Mike was driven like that -- obsessively. [He was] looking at everything, trying to do everything to be better until he learned to kind of step back and not try to do so much."
Johnson said that he and Espinosa were the last to leave the stadium Saturday night. There was Espinosa looking at video of himself playing in Double-A Harrisburg. Johnson told him to put a halt to watching the video and relax.
"I told him, 'Forget about all this stuff. You just need to relax a little bit,' We had a nice little conversation. He expects so much out of himself," Johnson said.
The conversation worked, as Espinosa had two doubles and scored a run in four at-bats against the Astros on Sunday afternoon.
"[Johnson] said, 'Don't press. I'm trying to do too much. Go out there and let your natural ability take over and just play the game,'" Espinosa said.