Desmond providing healthy amount of pop

Desmond providing healthy amount of pop

WASHINGTON -- The good news for shortstop Ian Desmond was he set a career high for homers on Tuesday -- before the halfway point of the season. The bad news is the Nationals lost.

When asked how he felt about hitting his 11th homer of the season and setting a new career mark, Desmond just shrugged.

"Well, I hit 13 one time in [the Minors], so not quite there yet," Desmond joked.

Desmond began the season as the team's leadoff hitter before manager Davey Johnson moved him back to the middle or the order. He batted sixth in Wednesday's middle game against Tampa Bay.

Desmond's power has been helping the Nationals, as he ranks second on the team with the 11 homers, behind only Adam LaRoche (12). Steve Lombardozzi took over leadoff duties and has fared well, hitting .267 entering Wednesday.

But the shortstop's power has been a big help to the injury-plagued Washington lineup. He was hitting .264 entering Wednesday and ranked second on the team with 34 RBIs -- also behind LaRoche (43) for the first-place Nationals.

"We just want to be playing well," Desmond said. "That's really all we can ask for. The bats are starting to come around."