Johnson on Espinosa’s struggles at the plate: “He will get it”

Danny Espinosa has continued to struggle at the plate for Triple-A Syracuse as he rehabs from wrist and shoulder injuries. He is batting .094 (6-for-64) in 19 games, with 33 strikeouts in 64 at-bats.

Recently he has improved his strikeouts per game, down to four in the last five contests.

Manager Davey Johnson has kept up on Espinosa in the team reports and has been able to watch a lot of his at-bats on video.

“I saw his approach,” Johnson said. “He has changed a little bit in his approach. He is still trying to hit the ball hard, every swing is pretty hard. I think his thing is more mental approach. I think he has got the misguided opinion that it is OK to hit .220 and hit 20 home runs.

“He has the talent to be a pretty good hitter. Put the ball in play. It is kind of like playing golf. You want to learn to hit the fairways and greens before you want to try to hit it 300 yards.”

Johnson is familiar with the drive inside Espinosa to get better and get back to the majors.

“He is a very motivated and very driven young man and he will get it,” Johnson said. “But he is also hard headed. He reminds me a lot of myself. But he will get it.”

Johnson said Espinosa’s swing was a bit better in spring training in February and March at Viera, Fla.

“He worked on his stroke in spring training and I thought he was in a very good place,” Johnson said. “Then, you forget about it. Then the job is to go out there and you time the baseball. If you time the baseball your stroke will be good, if you don’t it will be bad. I think he gets wrapped up into thinking too much in technique and not enough about seeing the baseball, timing it, and hitting it on the button.

“He used to do that very well from the right side. And then I saw him in the spring start doing that from the left. Forget all the mechanics, and forget about the stroke, you just go out there and look for the ball and hit it, out front with extension. You don’t have to swing hard. He has got a ton of ability. He is going through a tough time, but he is strong, he will come out of it better.”

Johnson said Espinosa is healthy and is not having issues with his wrist or shoulder. Johnson also believes Espinosa will be back with the Nationals in D.C. before the end of the season.

He has missed 13 games since being placed on the disabled list on June 3.

Johnson said the main focus for Espinsoa right now is to slow I down a bit in the batter’s box and not try to hit it over the fence with every swing.

“He will get it,” Johnson said. “He will lock in. Sometimes it is a flick of the switch and a light comes on in the room. It is that simple. He just needs to get his mind concentrating. He thinks about 100 different things too much. You just need to focus.”

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