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Slumping Espinosa back in lineup

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PITTSBURGH -- Manager Davey Johnson put second baseman Danny Espinosa back in the Nationals' lineup on Friday.

Before the game, Johnson said he had a conversation with Espinosa, basically telling him to relax and display his talent. The previous two games, Johnson started Steve Lombardozzi at second.

"As long as he stays within himself, doesn't expand, doesn't swing at balls out of the zone, I expect him to have a good series," Johnson said about Espinosa.

Johnson danced around the question about whether Espinosa was going to be his regular second baseman. Washington's skipper responded by saying he needed all 25 guys in order to win and that Espinosa wasn't the only one who was in a slump.

Entering Friday's action, Espinosa was hitting .173 (14-for-81) with two home runs and six RBIs. In the fourth inning, Espinosa singled in Adam LaRoche for Washington's lone run in a 3-1 loss.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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