Espinosa gets assist from new teammate

Espinosa gets assist from new teammate

VIERA, Fla. -- Manager Davey Johnson believes the Nationals' offense will improve because the position players are taking better swings at the plate this spring.

Johnson used second baseman Danny Espinosa as an example of a player who is looking better from the left side of the plate. It helped that teammate Mark DeRosa noticed Espinosa had too much of a loop in his swing.

DeRosa believes Espinosa will cut down on his strikeouts and raise his batting average once he gets rid of that loop.

The two go through a tee drill that DeRosa learned from Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and Rangers infielder Michael Young. The drill helps Espinosa spray the ball all over the field.

"I really enjoy talking hitting, being next to Espi [in the locker room] and picking his brain on how he attacks certain things," DeRosa said. "There were some fundamental things I thought he did wrong. Talking to [hitting coach] Rick [Eckstein] and Davey, they agreed as well. I'm trying to change Espi's philosophies on the way he thinks about going about the offensive side of it. I'm just trying to help him.

"I brought him out to the cage and showed him a different way on how to go about it. I think it will cut down on his strikeouts. I think it will raise his average. Obviously, the power is there. He'll hit for a higher average and put more balls in play and he is going to hit more homers."