It's July, it's almost the All-Star break, and infielder Danny Espinosa is still on the Nationals' 25-man roster. After being sent down to the minors in 2013, he had a choice - either embrace the situation and work harder than ever before or settle for where he'd been sent to. Espinosa chose to embrace the situation and seems to have made his way back to the majors with a reputation for being consistent defensively and occasionally productive offensively.
Once 2014's spring training was complete, Espinosa knew he wouldn't be starting at second base every day. He'd be a reliable, go-to guy on bench duty with a spot on the 25-man roster, a rightfully earned position given the past year's events in his career. With third baseman Ryan Zimmerman down for the count on the disabled list and opening day second baseman Anthony Rendon shifting to third due to Zimmerman's injury, Espinosa was available to step in a prove his worth to Washington once again.
As it stands, the Nationals are a half-game back in the National League East behind Atlanta. The rest of their divisional competition is 5 1/2 games back or more. If Washington can keep its opening day starting nine together like they have the past two nights against Colorado, the Nats just might be able to keep up with the Braves. The good news is, if that starting nine can't stay intact, there's a way around it and that most definitely includes utilizing Espinosa at second base.
Espinosa's time at second base during the 2014 season thus far is something he should be proud of given the past few seasons of work. The 2012 campaign was that special season that the Nats and their fans will never forget. The 2013 season didn't end up in a playoff run and Espinosa seemed to have lost a little bit of whatever had been working for him in 2012. But after some hard work and time spent away from the big leagues, it's nice to see Espinosa back as a dependable member of the active 25-man roster.
Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC. Follow her on Twitter: @RHLevitin. She will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation's capital as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.