Harrisburg Senators' shortstop Danny Espinosa, a rising star in the Nats organization, enjoyed a career night Wednesday with three home runs in the Sens 5-3 win at Binghamton, continuing a resurgence that began in June.
Espinosa went 3-for-5 with a career high 3 homers, 3 runs and 4 RBI. He is hitting .286 with 4 HR and 13 RBI the last 10 games, raising his season average to .262.
"It was a good time. I hit my first one when they were trying to jam me. It was a 1-0 count on an off speed pitch. The home run was a fast ball middle in. I didn't miss it. I hit it right handed and pulled it down the line.
"The second one was off a reliever. It was 2-2 count and I had seen all his pitches. I was hitting left handed and I was able to drive it to center field over the batter's eye.
"The third homer was on a 3-2 count and I did the same thing. I was able to drive it to center."
Espinosa had never hit three homers in one game. He told me the guys in the dugout had fun with him after his first homer and all acted like he had just grounded out before congratulating him.
"I have felt a lot better at the plate the last month and a half to two months. Hitting coach Troy Gingrich has been working really hard with me to get my swing back to where it was at the beginning of the year.
"He worked with me to shorten my swing. In my last 200 at bats, I have been more consistent at the plate because I cut down on my swing."
Now that his swing is in order, he has concentrated on breaking down the pitchers.
"I have paid attention to pitcher's tendencies, worked the count and have had a better plan. It has really helped."
Espinosa has also worked diligently on improving his fielding at shortstop.
"I take a lot of pride in my defense. Hitting sometimes comes and goes, but I always look to play very good defense."
Danny says Harrisburg has been playing so well this season due in large part to quality defense behind the pitchers. "Everyone works very hard on their defense on this team."
Looking ahead to the offseason, Espinosa is excited to play winter ball to get more at bats and gain valuable experience against big league pitchers who will throw a ton of breaking stuff. Last year, Espinosa played in the Arizona Fall League for Phoenix.
Danny has played shortstop his entire career, but is willing to play second base if he is asked to play the spot in the future. "The (organization) has not talked to me about that but I am open to doing anything to help the team."
Espinosa also enjoyed his experience at the Futures Game during the All-Star break back in July.
"It was unbelievable. I grew up three miles from that stadium in Anaheim. My family had season tickets with the Angels. I used to watch games there as a kid. I got to play with a lot of guys that I grew up with. It was a great experience to play a game there."