Espinosa bats second in order on Saturday

Espinosa bats second in order on Saturday

WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson decided to put second baseman Danny Espinosa in the second spot in the lineup against the Reds on Saturday.

By slotting Espinosa near the top of the order, Johnson wants him to see better pitches and get on base more often. Entering Saturday's action, Espinosa was 12-for-65 [.185] with two home runs and six RBIs.

"I want him to think about line drives, getting on base and that kind of thing," Johnson said.

Batting near the top of the order is nothing new to Espinosa. He has played a combined 120 games batting either first or second, and he has a combined .203 batting average [100-for-492] with 12 home runs 41 RBIs.

There is no denying, however, that Espinosa is one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball. He is often making acrobatic plays at second base and Johnson said he is going to stick with Espinosa the way he stuck with shortstop Ian Desmond after the 2011 season.

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