Goodwin healthy after groin strain slowed end of rookie season

A groin strain almost derailed a promising 2017 campaign for Nationals outfielder Brian Goodwin. His last game was Aug. 13, but was able to return to make the postseason roster.

“It was just a battle,” Goodwin said at Nationals Winterfest. “It was devastating the time that it happened. Clearly, I wasn’t in the best mood, but I think it pushed me to do what I had to do to get back for my guys and my team and for myself, because I knew how important that postseason potentially was.”

And it was too bad the injury occurred because Goodwin was in the midst of his best run in his rookie season: He reached an .811 OPS with 13 home runs in 74 games. He also stole six bases. Goodwin said that there were no lingering effects from the groin strain as he gets ready for 2018:

Goodwin-Swings-White-Sidebar.jpg“No at all. I got to give credit to my training staff,” Goodwin said. “They did a fantastic job. They went above and beyond, so by the time I got home this offseason, I was in shape and getting ready to be right for February.

“I know I still got a lot of work to do, a lot of time to put in to get where I want to be. If anything, it just pushed me to want to do better.”

With the new coaching staff also arriving in 2018, Goodwin returns with familiarity working with assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon, who coached him at Triple-A in 2014.

“He was my hitting coach,” Goodwin said. “We spent a lot of time together. I was always in the cage and he was always right there with me. So we got a lot of stuff we can go back on.”

Goodwin played 81 games at Syracuse that season.

“Anytime one of your guys makes it, it’s very satisfactory as a coach,” Dillon said. “That was my first year coaching, so we spent a lot of time together. That was his first in Triple-A, so obviously he’s talented physically. Back then, he was just kind of learning what made his swing click and his approach. But obviously, he had some skills that stood out that the organization really liked, so it was nice to see those things come to fruition as a major league player. To see that all come together was nice to see from a distance.”

Goodwin hit 14 homers at Triple-A in 2016. He hit 13 in just 74 games with the Nats. Goodwin brushed off the notion that he should be considered a power threat. But said getting good at-bats was something he always strived for.

“Pretty much consistency does it for me,” Goodwin said. “I don’t really get too big on the homers or power. Not going to hit 50 like (Aaron) Judge. I take the consistent numbers, do what I do over and over and over until I can’t do it no more.”

Now Goodwin enters 2018 looking for the opportunity to make the Nationals out of spring training with hopes of steady work in their talented outfield.

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