Espinosa benefits from Garciaparra's advice

Espinosa benefits from Garciaparra's advice

LOS ANGELES -- During batting practice this week at Dodger Stadium, Nationals manager Dusty Baker saw an opportunity for his shortstop Danny Espinosa to chat with Nomar Garciaparra.

The two spoke about how Garciaparra, currently an analyst with SportsNet LA, used to approach batting practice and how it helped him prepare for his at-bats during the game.

"Very beneficial," Espinosa said. "You talk to someone like that, that good of a hitter, I mean very beneficial."

Of course Garciaparra was one of the best offensive shortstops during his 14-year Major League career when he hit .313/.361/.521. Although Espinosa acknowledged that the two were different hitters with different strengths -- Espinosa usually does not hit for a high average -- he still found takeaways from Garciaparra's approach. Garciaparra used to focus on hitting low line drives back at the screen before the game.

"You can take something from everything," Espinosa said. "To be able to look and see what he did with his rounds, and how he got guys to throw pitches where he wanted, too."

The conversation paid off Tuesday night when Espinosa hammered his 13th home run of the year, matching his output from last season. And Espinosa has been swinging the bat well lately especially for power. Since May 26, he is slugging .654 with 10 homers.

Espinosa's solo blast to left

Only two shortstops in baseball had homered more than Espinosa entering Wednesday, Colorado's Trevor Story (18) and Los Angeles' Corey Seager (15).

"I hit mistakes. I'm not trying to hit home runs," Espinosa said. "I'm just trying to get a good pitch to hit."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.