Bill Ladson

Carp hoping to bring pop to Nationals' bench

Carp hoping to bring pop to Nationals' bench

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals are looking to have a productive bench this year. In 2014, Nationals pinch-hitters had a .144 batting average. That could improve if first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp makes the team.

Carp has proven to be a valuable left-handed hitter off the bench, something the Nationals didn't have last year. In 2013, Carp came off the bench and helped the Red Sox win the World Series title over the Cardinals. Against right-handed pitching that year, Carp was a .300 hitter with a .367 on-base percentage.

After struggling with the Red Sox and Rangers last year, Carp signed a Minor League deal with Washington after having a talk with manager Matt Williams.

"Obviously, the pieces are there," Carp said. "Overall, wanting to win -- it seems that's the main focus on everybody's agenda. I couldn't be happier to be with guys who share that same philosophy."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.