Knorr: Lombardozzi “just knows the game”

The Nationals like what they have seen so far from young infielders Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, who appear to be the shortstop and second basemen of the future for the Nats in 2011 and beyond.

The next second baseman set to impress in the chain is Stephen Lombardozzi, who displayed solid numbers in Single-A Potomac, Double-A Harrisburg and Scottsdale of the Arizona Fall League this season.

Lombardozzi produced the game-winning RBI hit to lift Scottsdale to the AFL championship. He finished .293 with eight doubles, two triples, four RBIs and 16 runs scored in 21 games. He hit .294 in 137 games between Potomac and Harrisburg last season, with six homers and 49 RBI.

New Syracuse Chiefs manager Randy Knorr directed Lombardozzi a lot this season and really enjoys watching him play.

“Oh, I love him! We call him ‘Mr. Perfect.’ In fact, when we left spring training, we were all driving up north and my hitting coach and I, Troy Gingrich, we passed him on the freeway and he was driving 65 and he has his hands at 10 and 2. No, I am kidding. That is what it looks like, I don’t know if that’s for sure,” Knorr said with a laugh.

“He is just an extremely hard worker,” Knorr said. “He just knows the game. He is one of those guys - he asked me a question in Arizona, ‘So what do I need to work on?’ I am thinking, ‘Steve, I got to be honest with you, I think you just need to play.’ “

Knorr told Lombardozzi to just keep working hard because he was already doing a lot of good things in the field, saying, “You do everything right. He takes the extra bag. He puts out big league at-bats already at his age. He puts himself in the right position when he fields the ball.”

“He just knows hitters,” continued Knorr. “Not to take anything away from Steve, but being around his dad (Steve Lombardozzi, who played with the Twins and Astros from1985-1990) highly influenced him how to play the game. He plays the game hard, he is just like (Bryce) Harper.”

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