WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Friday night that he's going to stick with Tyler Moore in left field, giving the 26-year-old reserve more regular at-bats with the hope that they will get him back on track.
Before Sunday's rubber game against the Phillies, Moore said that plan is working so far. He had gone 1-for-3 in each of his past two starts, raising his season batting average from .121 to .139. In his Major League career, Moore is batting .236 as a starter, compared to .185 as a substitute.
"Yeah, it's always nice, just because my first at-bats of the season, it was brutal, I was struggling, coming in facing a tough lefty and then going 0-for-3 or whatnot, and then it just kept snowballing," Moore said. "But yeah, [Johnson's] got me in there against some righties and I'm feeling a lot better at the plate, and hopefully it continues."
Some players believe that the best way to fix something is to do nothing, but Moore is not one of them. He said he's made a conscious effort to hit for contact rather than power and make a little bit of progress at the plate every day.
"Pretty much, you just stay smaller, you get more comfortable," Moore said. "It's a 'walk before you can run' kind of deal, so that's the biggest thing for me, individually, in the last three or four games. I've done that, and I've felt a lot better at the plate."
Mattheus regrets venting by punching locker
WASHINGTON -- Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus was happy to learn that he doesn't need surgery on his right hand.
Mattheus punched his locker in frustration and broke his hand after allowing five runs against the Padres last Sunday. If he had to do it over again, Mattheus said he would have taken his frustrations out in another way.
"When you get frustrated, there are definitely ways to vent, you need to vent," Mattheus said. "But punching things, throwing things or hitting things with your helmet or bat isn't the way. I learned a tough lesson. It's something I have done in the past, but it's not something I'm proud of doing. I let my teammates down. I put the organization in a bad spot, and it looks bad on me. It might seem like the thing to do at the time, but looking back in hindsight, it's not a very smart decision."
Mattheus is expected to be out two months with the broken hand. There is no set timetable on when he will return to action.
"I'm going to try to come back as fast as I can," Mattheus said. "I really don't know much about the injury. It's not very common in the sport. We just have to wait and see. I'm going to trust the doctors. When they say I can start throwing, I'm going to start throwing."
Harper, Moore get extra practice near outfield wall
WASHINGTON -- On Friday afternoon, first-base/outfield coach Tony Tarasco was seen teaching Tyler Moore and Bryce Harper how to play the outfield wall better. The session happened in part because Harper crashed into the right-field wall on May 13 and misplayed a ball in the ninth against the Giants this past Tuesday. The catchable ball went over Harper's head, and he thought he was close to the wall.
"I was giving them a feel for the track, feel for the speed they are running," Tarasco said. "There is only one way do that, and that is repetition. There are no secret tricks to it. … You have accidents sometimes. Sometimes, we fall off the bike, and the most important thing is to get back up and we make adjustments."
Center fielder Denard Span participated in the drill. His job was to tell Harper and Moore how close they were to the wall.
"T-Mo and Bryce haven't been playing the outfield too long," Span said. "I really didn't say much, but I wanted to show them by example. They are going to get more comfortable and realize where they are on the field at all times."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashinNats. Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.