Johnson: DeRosa's value extends beyond stats

Johnson: DeRosa's value extends beyond stats

WASHINGTON -- After having a great Spring Training, Nationals infielder/outfielder Mark DeRosa is off to a slow start. Entering Tuesday's action against the Astros, DeRosa was 2-for-22 (.091) with two RBIs.

But manager Davey Johnson said he is not worried about DeRosa, who, according to the skipper, feels he is letting the team down.

"I know he is going to hit. I'm not worried about him. It's just a matter of time," Johnson said.

According to Johnson, DeRosa has been a valuable player on the team. He has been a positive influence in the clubhouse and on the field. Johnson has often called DeRosa one of his coaches. Young players such as Steve Lombardozzi, Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond rely heavily on what DeRosa has to say about the game of baseball.

"He pays attention. He is like a sixth or seventh coach on the club, whether it's hitting, fielding," Johnson said. "He has been an outstanding influence. I say that highly, because all the stuff he is reporting to the players, that's what I preached and what [hitting coach Rick] Eckstein preaches. Being teammates of Chipper [Jones] and [Albert] Pujols gives him a little more credibility. So he is great to have around."