Nationals News: Kevin Frandsen embraces key role as utility player


Good morning DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! The weather is finally starting to heat up in the nation’s capital, and so is the pace of Spring Training for the Nationals down in Viera, Fla.

With Opening Day less than a month away, the Nationals have now played their first three Grapefruit League games and won all of them, though it hasn’t been easy. They’ll be back at it this afternoon when they take on the New York Yankees, so be sure to check back here shortly after the game for our recap and analysis.

In today’s Daily, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes discusses Kevin Frandsen and the ever-growing importance of the utility player. Frandsen, whose hopes of being an everyday player were dampened by an achilles injury years ago, was one of the team’s most important players last season and will undoubtedly play an equally-important role in 2015.

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As Janes writes, Frandsen is not only a reliable offensive and defensive force on the bench, but he also succeeds because he embraces the role of the utility player – something that doesn’t always come easy for players who would rather be playing everyday. Be sure to checkout Janes’ article below, it’s definitely worth a read.

Also in today’s Daily, the Post’s Dan Sternberg discusses Bryce Harper and some more interesting comments he made earlier this week. As Steinberg writes, Harper hasn’t shied away from confident rhetoric at all this spring, and I think that’s fantastic.

Yes, people will criticize him for talking big after missing most of last season on the disabled list and having not yet played a full season in his career. But as we’ve seen before (2014 playoffs, anybody?), Harper thrives under immense pressure – even the pressure he places on himself. And if he can stay healthy all season long this year, there’s no reason to believe his seemingly lofty predictions can’t come true.

Be sure to checkout the articles below, and stay tuned to DoD for all your Nationals Spring Training needs.

Have glove, will play

(Chelsea Janes, Washington Post)

VIERA, Fla. — On the morning of the Washington Nationals’ spring training opener, Kevin Frandsen’s name was written on the lineup card pinned up in the clubhouse: designated hitter, batting ninth.

Not long before the game, Manager Matt Williams redrew his lineup. Frandsen, still batting ninth, became the second baseman. When a new lineup card was posted the next morning, Frandsen’s name was there again: left field, batting second.

Other than the fact that he was fairly quiet in the clubhouse before boarding the bus to Friday’s game — because “sitting quietly” is one position Frandsen rarely assumes — those 36 hours were typical of the life of the Nationals’ utility man, who only recently became comfortable with that title. Read full article here.

Bryce Harper says ‘people want to see us fail’

(Dan Steinberg, Washington Post)

Bryce Harper’s promise to bring a World Series title back to D.C. has been among most interesting parts of Nats spring training, the sort of thing that’s launched PTI segments and Chris Russo rants and e-mailers making fun of me for writing so many items about the same insignificant quote.

Anyhow, we’ve now entered phase two of the Bryce Harper World Series Promise story, in which Harper explains why he has the robust confidence he does. Like, there was this, to Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller:

"“I just have confidence in my team, in our ability,” Harper [said]. “If you look at it, I don’t say it arrogantly. It’s genuine, how I feel about my team. People don’t have confidence in our team. I mean, they do, but the average person is going to look at it and say, ‘We hate the Nationals. We hope they don’t play well, blah, blah, blah.’"

Read full article here.

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