Bernadina to start, Brown joins bench

Bernadina to start, Brown joins bench
July 23, 2012, 10:38 pm
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NEW YORK -- Ian Desmond's placement on the disabled list has a domino effect throughout the Nationals' lineup. Obviously, Danny Espinosa takes over at shortstop, with Steve Lombardozzi moving to second base.

But who takes the lineup spot Lombardozzi had been occupying for months? Enter Roger Bernadina.

The 28-year-old outfielder, who has bounced in and out of the Nationals' lineup for three years, gets another shot at a regular gig. Manager Davey Johnson said today he hopes Bernadina can continue his recent hot streak at the plate -- he's 11 for his last 19, raising his batting average to .291 in the process -- and will start in center field against right-handers.

Tyler Moore, meanwhile, will start in left field against left-handers, bumping Bryce Harper to center field and Michael Morse to right field.

"It's basically going to be in a platoon situation, kind of like I was with Lombo out there," Johnson said.

What, then, becomes of Corey Brown, promoted from Class AAA Syracuse today to take Desmond's vacant roster spot? Though the 26-year-old outfielder had produced big numbers in the minors this season (a .300 average, 21 homers, 58 RBI) he'll once again be used off the bench in the big leagues, just as he was during a brief stint with the Nationals in late-May.

For Brown, who took the short flight from Syracuse to New York this morning, a chance to be back in the majors trumps whatever role he's asked to play.

"It's definitely exciting to be called up and to be able to be part of a team that's doing so well all year," he said. "It's an honor to be a part of it now, and hopefully I can be here the rest of the year and help in some way. If not, I'm sure I can be in the mix at some point."

This is Brown's third stint with the Nationals, including a call-up last September, but he's still looking for his first big-league base hit. He's 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, though he did record his first RBI May 29 with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt.

"I got the RBI," he said. "Now I want to get that hit."