Lombardozzi and Espinosa hot as Desmond nears return

Nationals infielders Danny Espinosa and Steve Lombardozzi have become quite a pair on defense the last two weeks. They have also delivered at the plate, combining for 34 hits.

Espinosa said he doesn't even think twice about Lombardozzi at second base. That is the best compliment he could give to his gifted teammate.

"Good, it is comfortable," Espinosa said on "Nats Xtra" recently. "I don't even think about it, actually. You just go out there and you know what he can do. I feel 100 percent comfortable. I know he is a good second baseman and I have no doubt in him."

Espinosa has had eight hits in his last three games and three homers on the road trip, including the game-changing two-run shot that gave the Nationals a 4-2 lead early Wednesday, on the way to a 6-4 win over the Giants.

Espinosa said he made an adjustment over a month ago at the plate and it is still clicking.

"I had to change my approach a little bit and it has been working for me," Espinosa said. "It just makes me feel comfortable up there.

"It has nothing to do with mechanics, it is about pitch selection and what I am trying to do with the ball."

Lombardozzi also had 17 hits on the road swing, including a pair of four-hit games.

"I have been working on my swing a bunch and getting more comfortable," Lombardozzi said. "I started feeling a little comfortable on this road trip and was able to come up with some hits and help this team."

Playing every day has helped Lombardozzi as well, as he believes it has allowed him to get into a rhythm in the batter's box.

"I said it earlier in the year, the more consistent (at-bats) you get the more comfortable you are going to get out there," Lombardozzi said on "Nats Xtra".

So, with the return of Ian Desmond expected Friday, Lombardozzi could get time at second base, third base and left field, according to manager Davey Johnson, who said he will "expand (Lombardozzi's) role."

It is a good puzzle for the Nationals to solve, having too many good bats and top defenders. Whereever Johnson decides to put Lombardozzi, you can expect him to deliver.

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