Ian Desmond coming around at the plate

A week ago, Ian Desmond was playing baseball on something of a day-to-day basis, not knowing if the trade rumors containing his name would lead to anything fruitful or not.

The Nationals, the thinking went, could include Desmond as part of a package for a center fielder, move Danny Espinosa back to his natural position of shortstop and call up Stephen Lombardozzi from the minors to play second base. There were some in the organization who favored the move - and talks with the Twins eventually broke down in part because they wanted Lombardozzi - but there were still others who wanted to keep Desmond, believing that his athleticism and his resolve on the field would eventually pull him out of his slump.

He’s certainly given his critics things to nitpick; he’s cut down on his errors this year, making only 16 after committing 34 last year, but he still struggles in the field occasionally. And at the plate, he’s shown flashes of power, but strikes out too much (92 times this year) and doesn’t walk enough (just 28 times). He hit 10 homers and drove in 65 runs in a solid rookie season last year, but he’s hit only four this year, and was hitting .224 heading into last Saturday.

Since the trade rumors have died down, though, Desmond’s game has picked up. He’s hitting .385 in the last week, and went 4-for-4 last night in the Nationals’ win over the Rockies. Manager Davey Johnson , , , , , ,