Lombardozzi relishes opportunity to play pair of infield positions

Nationals infielder Steve Lombardozzi has been able to play shortstop and second base in his first three games in the big leagues and doesn’t mind being moved around.

“It has been awesome,” Lombardozzi said. “I was glad I got a chance to play short. I am getting comfortable at both positions. The more positions I get to play, the better for me. I am happy to do whatever it takes.”

Lombardozzi says he has been playing on the right side of the infield for most of his career, but he is familiar with both positions since he first played baseball.

“I mostly played second base since I got drafted,” Lombardozzi said. “I played shortstop in high school and college. They played me at short a bunch this year, especially when I got to [Triple-A] Syracuse. It has been good. It definitely helps me to work on both sides of the base.”

He has also gotten the opportunity to lead off for the Nationals and has been accustomed to that role for a few years now in the system.

“I have hit one or two the last couple of years,” Lombardozzi said. “This year I have hit a lot of leadoff. I like it. I like getting on base and getting things going for the guys behind me.”

And despite not registering a hit in 10 at-bats so far, Lombardozzi has hit the ball hard and has been patient, evidenced by the walk he was issued in his major league debut Tuesday night against the Dodgers.

“I know it will come,” Lombardozzi said. “It will be there. Guys are telling me to just relax and enjoy it. I am doing that. I am still going about my business. I am still getting my work and stuff.”

Lombardozzi is well known in the franchise for how much time he spends before ball games taking extra ground balls at second base to his left and to his right. He credits his dad, former major leaguer Steve Lombardozzi for emphasizing to him the importance of hard work as he grew as a player.

“I think my dad had a big part of it, just kind of showing me what kind of work ethic it is going to take,” Lombardozzi said. “But, also I think I have been like that since I have been young. I have wanted to work hard. If you don’t enjoy it, it is not something you will do. That is something I enjoy doing is working hard and getting better.

“My dad has helped me with the mind set and the mental part of the game. I think the biggest thing for me has been my consistency, and just playing hard night in and night out.”

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