Jun 17, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) fields a ground ball during the game against the Houston Astros at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: Hard Work Paying Off for Desmond at Short, Werth Makes Most of 'Honor' of Batting Third

Hard work paying off for Desmond at short

(Bill Ladson and Daniel Popper, MLB.com)

WASHINGTON — In the top of the ninth inning Tuesday night, the Nationals led the Astros by one run with one out, Marwin Gonzalez on first base and closer Rafael Soriano on the mound.

Soriano delivered a 1-0 fastball to Matt Dominguez, who sent a slow ground ball to the left side of the infield. Ian Desmond charged the ball, scooped it up with his backhand and fired a throw to second base to get Gonzalez, the lead runner. One batter later, Soriano forced Jonathan Villar to fly out to center field to preserve the victory.

Desmond’s athletic and cerebral play capped an impressive defensive night for the shortstop, who still leads the Nationals in errors but has shown substantial improvement in the field over the last few weeks. Read full article here.

Werth making most of ‘honor’ of batting third

(Bill Ladson and Daniel Popper, MLB.com)

WASHINGTON — Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth has been successful hitting everywhere in the lineup, but he said recently it’s an honor to be hitting third, which he has done for most of this season.

Werth credits his family for feeling this way. As a kid growing up in Illinois, Werth’s family — his stepfather, Dennis Werth, grandfather and uncle — often told Jayson that the team’s best hitter bats third.

Talking to Werth, hitting third seems to be the best thing that ever happened to him. This is a guy who has won a World Series title with the Phillies in 2008 and is considered by many to be the team leader with the Nationals. Read full article here.

Harper’s upcoming return to bring lineup decisions

(Bill Ladson and Daniel Popper, MLB.com)

WASHINGTON — Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (torn thumb ligament) is slowly but surely approaching his return to the field.

On Tuesday, Harper swung a bat with both hands for the first time when he took soft toss in the cage. On Wednesday, Harper put his left hand into a glove and went through a full outfield workout with first-base coach Tony Tarasco, which included catching balls, agility exercises and barehand drills, manager Matt Williams said.

When Harper does come back, the Nationals will need to make room in the lineup. Read full article here.

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