SEATTLE -- Infielder Kevin Frandsen has been the Nationals' best bench player this season. Whenever a pinch-hitter or a defensive replacement is needed, Frandsen is usually the first one manager Matt Williams calls on.
Frandsen has put up some nice numbers off the bench, hitting .268 as a pinch-hitter. After the All-Star break, Frandsen is 15-for 43 (.349) with five RBIs.
But Frandsen's numbers with the bat don't tell the whole story. He is working hard before games. Around 3 p.m. on most game days, Frandsen is taking infield drills and sometimes taking fly balls in the outfield.
"[Frandsen] is just ready to play," Williams said. "He comes in and works early [almost] every day . He can play multiple positions. He has played third, first, second and he has played left field. So he is versatile in that regard. He can play anywhere on the diamond.
"He concentrates on giving professional at-bats. He can do a lot of things with the bat. He can move a guy over, he can bunt, we can hit-and-run with him. He can get a base hit. He can do a lot of things. He is a very valuable piece of the team."
There are no days off for Frandsen. He prepares as if he is going to play every day. Frandsen also wants to show that he is a great teammate, even when he is not starting.
"It doesn't matter if you sit in [for somebody] for three weeks or you get that pinch-hit in the ninth or you may get two starts against big-time [pitchers], you have to be relentless and work, diligent ," Frandsen said. "My ultimate goal is to be the best teammate as possible, literally every day when I get on field. Being the best teammate I can possibly be is by preparing, by supporting, helping. There are so many guys on the team that want to win, it makes your job easy as a utility guy."
Frandsen joined the Nationals a few days before Opening Day, and he has made it clear that he wants to be a member of the team beyond this season.
"Saying how much I like being a National would be an understatement," Frandsen said. "But at the same time, I look at the bigger picture. I look at the people involved in the whole thing, and it has been a pretty incredible experience, because everyone wants to win, everyone wants to do it the right way, as far as communicating, working hard.
"When we win, every win is like the greatest thing. … Beyond any words, I love being a member of the Nationals. I hope I get to be a National for a long time. You never know as a utility guy."
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