WASHINGTON -- The Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away and it seems hard to believe that the Nationals would make a big trade before July 31. They don't have a glaring weakness except for their bench.
Entering Saturday's action, Nationals pinch-hitters are a combined 18-for-117 (.154) with four home runs and 12 RBIs. It doesn't help that players such as Scott Hairston and Nate McLouth are not getting enough reps. With the Nationals in the thick of the pennant race, it's rare that the starting eight, which includes shortstop Ian Desmond and center fielder Denard Span, is able to get a day off.
"Coming off the bench is like a flip of a coin. You get one at-bat. You either get a hit or not get a hit," hitting coach Rick Schu said. "I think our guys have done a good job as far as quality at-bats, grinding at-bats. The results have not been what they would like, but … they have prepared themselves every day."
Nats manager Matt Williams sounded like he did not want to change what he has on the bench. Like Schu, Williams reiterated it's difficult to come off the bench.
"We're unique in that regard. We have a lot of position players on our starting eight that play just about every day," Williams said. "It's hard to give [the regulars] rest because they are playing so well. ... You want to give guys opportunities. You keep them sharp so when they do step up, they have rhythm and timing."
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.