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Espinosa sitting, but hasn't lost faith of Rizzo

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CINCINNATI -- Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa didn't start for the second game in a row on Saturday. After starting Zach Walters in Friday's 4-1 win over the Reds, manager Matt Williams decided to give Kevin Frandsen the start at second base. The last time Frandsen started a game was July 10 against the Orioles.

"I haven't started him in a while," Williams said about Frandsen. "He has had some pinch-hitting appearances."

Although Espinosa isn't having a good year at the plate, batting .214 in 85 games, general manager Mike Rizzo said recently that he still believes in him.

"Why not? He has great skills," Rizzo said. "He is a Gold Glove-caliber defender. He has a plus-plus arm. He is a lot of trouble for the third-base coach ... because he is one of the best relay guys in all of baseball. He is a guy who has power, steals bases and runs the bases extremely well. He is a guy we have been counting on since Day 1 in Spring Training. He is a key cog on our ballclub."

Espinosa is showing signs of finding his swing, having recorded three hits in his last 10 at-bats. But Rizzo said he has a long way to go while pointing out Espinosa's strong work ethic.

"He is a diligent worker. He works too hard sometimes," Rizzo said. "But he does a lot of things on the ballfield. ... He is a big part of this club," Rizzo said.

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

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