WASHINGTON -- Whenever Nationals outfielder Ben Revere takes batting practice, he always talks about hitting the long ball, which doesn't please manager Dusty Baker. The way the skipper sees it, Revere doesn't get paid to hit home runs. As Baker puts it, Revere is the igniter who jump-starts the offense by getting on base.
But in Tuesday's 7-4 victory against the Mets, Baker didn't mind Revere hitting his first home run as a member of the Nationals. The homer -- one of a season-high five hit by the Nats -- came in the seventh inning against left-hander Antonio Bastardo. It was Revere's fifth career home run and his first since Sept. 12, 2015, against the Yankees. It took Revere 1,466 at-bats to hit his first big league home run, on May 27, 2014.
"I'm just hoping he doesn't get that dreadful disease of home run-itis," Baker said. "So just get back to [being] yourself, Ben."
Revere believes he owes himself at least one home run this season, but he realizes he must continue to hit the ball on the ground, which Hall of Famer Rod Carew told him to do when he was with the Twins.
"Carew told me I'll make a lot of money and be in this game a long time if I just hit line drives and hit the ball on the ground," Revere said. "If I try to hit it in the air, I'll probably be at .250 or a Mendoza-line .200 hitter. But if I hit the ball on the ground or line drives, I'll be .300 for a long time."
Revere has been hitting line drives and driving the ball into the ground lately. In his last five games, Revere is 9-for-20 [.450] to raise his average to .194.
"After a few games, [I'm] just working with the coaches and really trying to get the line-drive swing working again," Revere said. "I've been rolling over and hitting weak ground balls to second base. But it's putting the hard effort in with our hitting coaches and everything. The last game in New York [last Thursday], [I was] hitting the ball the other way and line drives. That's when I knew it's kinda coming back a little bit."
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.