BALTIMORE - The Nationals announced prior to the series opener at Camden Yards that they have recalled outfielder Brian Goodwin from Triple-A Syracuse and optioned outfielder Rafael Bautista to the Chiefs.
The 26-year-old Goodwin is hitting .256 at Triple-A with four doubles, two homers, 10 walks, nine runs scored, two stolen bases and 11 RBIs. He has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games. He had a nine-game hitting streak from April 21-30.
Manager Dusty Baker was asked the reasoning for the move. Bautista got into five games with the Nationals. He recorded his first major league hit on May 6 in Philadelphia, which was also his first big league start.
“Organizational decision,” Baker said. “We just think Bautista needs to play. That’s the main reason. Goodie’s been here before and served in that role.”
Goodwin had two stops with the Nationals last season, hitting .286 with four doubles, one triple and five RBIs in 22 games. Goodwin was the 34th selection in the 2011 first-year player draft out of Miami Dade Community College after starting out at North Carolina.
Goodwin said he had a bit of a slow start, but has gotten into a good groove the last few weeks.
“I feel like a stumbled a little but out of the blocks,” Goodwin said. “The weather and everything, that’s just something you got to deal with. Everybody’s got to deal with it. We’re all out there playing in the same stuff. I think since then I just kinda of kept my focus, kept my head on straight, and pushed through it.”
Now he is rolling with more quality at-bats.
“Just seeing the ball. Getting in good counts and getting good pitches to hit,” Goodwin said. “Staying under control and not trying to do too much. Working within my zone. Staying with what I’m looking for.”
Goodwin said getting called up last season makes this time around much easier to feel more comfortable about his surroundings and understand what he will need to do to be successful.
“I think just being up here and watching these guys’ ABs,” Goodwin said. “Seeing how they go about their work at the plate and their focus. You just got to stay committed. You have to believe in yourself and believe in what you can do and you have to step in the box knowing that you’re ready to succeed every time you step to the plate.”
Goodwin and Bautista are part of the outfield depth this club has put together in the system.
“Definitely. I think competition is good,” Goodwin said. “I think everybody feeds off of it. You see a guy you’re possibly competing against and it brings out the best in you. You want to beat him out. I think that brings out the best and takes you to the next level.”
Was Goodwin surprised after the loss of Adam Eaton to season-ending injury that he wasn’t the call last week when Bautista got the nod?
“A little bit. A little bit, I was,” Goodwin said. “Rafael definitely deserved it. He was playing great down there and he’s got all the talent in the world, so he definitely deserved it. But it just made me want to work that much harder and be that much better for when I got my chance.”
Goodwin was sent to Arizona Fall League a couple of seasons ago and he worked on his short game. As a potential leadoff guy with speed, it is always part of the focus in his approach.
“Definitely. Short game especially,” Goodwin said. “Doing a lot of bunting. Getting a feel for going both ways with bunts and just being able to use every tool in my game.”
And with another shot in the bigs, what is Goodwin looking to accomplish this time around?
“Just (be) aggressive,” Goodwin said. “You just got to come up and show what you got. You got to lay it all out on the table and leave nothing to be questioned.”