ASHINGTON -- On Monday afternoon, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond stole his 20th base of the season in a 12-2 victory over the Brewers.
Desmond became the second member in Nationals history -- Alfonso Soriano is the other -- to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season. Desmond downplayed the accomplishment, but he was happy to get the victory.
But Desmond didn't downplay that fact manager Davey Johnson played a key role in him having his best season of his career. Desmond is hitting .299 with 24 home runs and 71 RBIs. Johnson told Desmond that he was going to be the everyday shortstop no matter what happens during the season.
"Davey has been real nice to have around for me, personally. He always believed in me," Desmond said. "When we came in during Spring Training, he said 'You are going to play every single day. I don't care what you do. You are out there, you are my shortstop. No matter what.'
"To me that was like getting a multi-year contract. That's all I needed was someone's word to say, 'Hey, you are the guy.' The audition kind of went away. Now it's like go out and play your game. He believes in you, you go out and perform, and just play the game the way you know how."