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Espinosa's hustle catches Williams' eye

Espinosa's hustle catches Williams' eye

VIERA, Fla. -- In the fourth inning of Saturday's split-squad game against the Braves at Space Coast Stadium, the Nationals' Danny Espinosa stood on second with two outs. Moving on a 3-2 pitch, he never hesitated as Denard Span hit a dribbler back toward the mound, dashing all the way around to score when the throw went to first base.

"That's part of our DNA, the way we want to play," manager Matt Williams said. "That epitomizes it today."

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Even if Espinosa struggles at the plate, his work on the basepaths can add value along with his work in the field. But the second baseman also showed some progress at the plate Saturday, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base.

In the first inning, batting left-handed against the Braves' David Hale, he ripped a double into the left-center-field gap. Espinosa is a career .220/.293/.378 hitter from that side of the plate, and he came in 1-for-12 overall this spring, with no walks, extra-base hits or steals.

"Danny's got his stroke now," Williams said.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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