WASHINGTON -- The Nationals took infield practice Wednesday afternoon. The practice was supposed to be for the reserves, but regulars such as Ian Desmond, Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa were also getting in their reps. They asked manager Matt Williams to be part of the action, and Williams obliged.
Entering Wednesday's action, the Nationals were the worst defensive team (.970 fielding percentage and a Major League-leading 23 errors) in baseball, and Williams was pleased that his regulars wanted to get better.
"We want to play clean games. They want that, too. So we continue to work at it," Williams said. "I have to say this is not my idea. This is their idea. They came to us and said, 'Let's do some more.' That's a good thing. They don't want to make an error. Nobody wants to strike out. Nobody wants to give up a homer. So they are working hard [at their defense]."
Williams finds it hard to believe that his team is this bad defensively, and he believes the trend will turn around. To get better, they have to keep practicing.
"This is not the norm. This is a [tough] stretch, and we'll get through it, and I assured them that they will," Williams said. "I can't tell you a reason for it, but that's baffling. There is no real reason that I can see, because everything is the same that it has been. They work hard. Nobody is sitting around doing nothing. That's why I think it will turn. Then we'll do everything we can to make it turn. "
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.Less