WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson admitted he wanted to send down Tyler Moore when Jayson Werth came back on Thursday. Not because of the way Moore has played -- he's hitting .293 with a .877 OPS and 16 RBIs -- but because there won't be enough opportunities for the rookie slugger.
With Werth back in center field and opportunities to start in the outfield even harder to come by, Johnson will have to get creative with how he uses Moore. That will probably mean plenty of pinch-hitting, and maybe the occasional start to spell Bryce Harper in the outfield or Adam LaRoche at first base against left-handed pitching.
"He's such a great young talent. He'll be in a situation where I really don't have the playing time for him," Johnson said. "With Jayson out, he was going to get left-handers, and I'd leave him in there to face right-handers, and I felt like he could probably get his 200 at-bats, and that wouldn't set [his development] back."
Had the Nationals stuck with their eight-man bullpen rather than putting Henry Rodriguez on the disabled list, Moore could have gone back to Triple-A Syracuse to play every day and return when the rosters are expanded in September. Instead, Johnson suggested that Moore should consider playing winter ball somewhere to get more at-bats and continue his development.
"I was torn between letting him go play and getting the at-bats he needs, and Henry getting 100 percent. There was a lot of talking," Johnson said. "He's just too young and too good a talent."