Entering Monday's action, the Nationals are 22-29 and fans want to know what the team can do to improve further. Here are some answers to some of their questions.
Is Aaron Boone going to get more playing time? He should. -- Dean O., Winnipeg, MB.
He should get a lot more playing time, but I don't see it with the Nationals. He is playing behind first baseman Dmitri Young and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. I have been impressed with Boone on and off the field and believe he can still play every day. His at-bats have been impressive, working the count, making good contact and getting his hits at the right time.
It seems like after every game, there's an item about Lastings Milledge being careless or lackadaisical on the field. And all I hear from him are excuses. What is he still doing in center field?
-- Adam C., Atlanta, Ga.
I think you are wrong when you say that Milledge is making excuses. I think he is being honest when he talks about his problems in center field. Give me that honesty any day of the week. Washington wants to develop Milledge as a center fielder and I don't see them deviating from that plan.
Can we get some love for Tim Redding? What a warrior, but nobody talks about him. He's by far our best pitcher this year.
-- Scott C., Washington, DC
Redding is getting that love. Manager Manny Acta said recently that Redding should be considered for the All-Star Game. I agree with him. I would also consider Cristian Guzman for the All-Star team as well.
Acta and Washington management should be commended for their patience, but how much longer will it last?
-- Dean O., Winnipeg. MB
As long as Acta is in the organization, the patience will be there. He realizes that he is developing players such as Milledge, Elijah Dukes and Wily Mo Pena. I applaud Acta for never losing his cool in public.
Have a question about the Nationals?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Nationals beat reporter Bill Ladson for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
Does choking up on the bat yield more or less power than a regular grip? Thanks for your help.
-- Sam J., Eau Claire Wis.
I think it depends on the player. Barry Bonds choked up and he hit a lot of home runs. When I was growing up in New York, the Mets had a player named Felix Millian, who choked up near the barrel of the bat. He didn't hit a lot of home runs, but he collected a lot of base hits and had a low strikeout total.
I completely agree with Nationals' idea of building a strong farm system. However, the club needs to get somebody to make fans excited, and somebody who is proven. You can't keep getting guys hitting .100 with five RBIs in a month. They also can't keep bringing up young guys before they are ready. I think the Nationals must stop being stingy and at least sign one big-name free agent.
-- Adam H., Nazareth, Pa.
I don't think now is the time to sign big-name free agents. There is still work to do with the farm system, so I applaud the Nationals for not spending a lot of money on big-name free agents. There are players to be excited about on the Nationals. You have Ryan Zimmerman, John Lannan, Milledge and Dukes. Give it time. The season is not close to being over.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.