Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bernadina bulks up

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Roger Bernadina worked hard this offseason, and it shows.
VIERA, Fla. -- Guys report to spring training all the time and declare themselves to be in "the best shape of my life." Most of the time, we shrug it off.

Roger Bernadina didn't utter the phrase himself today when he walked into the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium, but he didn't need to. His physique spoke for itself.

Check out the above photo and see for yourself: Bernadina is ripped. He also had the body of a top professional athlete. Now he looks like he could compete in the Ironman Triathalon. And possibly win the thing.

The 26-year-old outfielder spent most of the offseason in his native Holland, working with the same trainer he's had for several years. The two devised a reconfigured plan, though, this winter that included twice-a-day workouts six days a week.

"A lot of stuff to get myself to the next level," he said. "He helped me out pretty good."

The goal, Bernadina said, is to avoid the late-season decline he suffered in 2010. At the end of August, he was hitting .271 with a .327 on-base percentage and a .760 OPS. Then in the season's final month, he hit a paltry .161 with a .243 OBP and a .458 OPS.

"In August, I was fine," he said. "In September, I ran out of gas. It's a mental grind. Next time, I'll know it."

Bernadina, whose minor-league career was interrupted by injuries including a broken ankle in 2009, had never played that deep into a season before. He was careful not to use that fact as an excuse for his decline, but he said "I can only learn from it now and move on from there."

The Nationals have high hopes for Bernadina. He's one of three candidates (along with Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel) for a revolving door in left field, but he's the best defensive player of the group, and the club believes he could save a bunch of runs with his range and glove.

Asked about his preferred role, Bernadina was diplomatic. He said he does need to spend some more time this spring learning the nuances of left field after playing mostly right field last year and center field in the minors. But he wasn't about to declare himself the starting left fielder or else.

"It doesn't matter to me," he said. "I just want to be in the lineup. Wherever they put me, I'm good with it."

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Some of you heard me on ESPN-980 AM yesterday talking to Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro about spring training. I've actually signed a deal with the station to be their "Nats Insider" (catchy name, I know) for the entire season. I'll be making daily appearances on one or more of their various shows, as well as sitting in occasionally in studio with Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin on "The Sports Reporters." My weekly schedule (subject to change) is...

Mondays: 2:45 p.m. (The John Thompson Show)
Tuesdays: 12:40 p.m. (The Sports Fix with Sheehan and Loverro) and 6:05 p.m. (The Sports Reporters with Czaban and Pollin)
Wednesdays: 2:25 p.m. (The John Thompson Show)
Thursdays: 1:40 p.m. (The Sports Fix with Sheehan and Loverro)
Fridays: 5:40 p.m. (The Sports Reporters with Czaban and Pollin)
Saturdays: 11:20 a.m. (Sports Saturday with Al Galdi)

Be sure to tune in whenever you can.

46 comments:

MGG said...

That's what I wanted to see out of these young players! Dedication and a serious approach to the off season, I hope he becomes the everday starter I think a lot of us want to see.

Also Thanks for the schedule I'll be sure to have my radio tuned to 980 when you're on!

Anonymous said...

For a little perspective, folks: This is Gabe Kapler. Career MLB HR's: 82.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I would have no problem with Bernadina playing CF in lieu of Morgan. That would let Ankiel and Morse platoon in left and certainly be a defensive upgrade over Morgan in CF.

Still leaves that nagging question in the lead off spot.

Grant said...

Anyone care to join me on the crusade to have Bernie's batting music changed to GnR's "Welcome to the Jungle," appropriately modified to "Welcome to the Gun Show"?

nicefellow31 said...

Mark even though I'm out of DC, glad to hear that you will be on the airwaves. Things are definetely going in your favor. Keep up the good work

DCPowerGator said...

good deal, congrats on the 980 gigs. hopefully you'll be a regular "third wheel" with czaban and pollin as well, really enjoyed you in your inaugural appearance on that show recently.

DFL said...

He looks more like an NFL safety. Very stacked. But you have to wonder whether Bernadina has pulled a Sosa while over in Holland.

Rebecca said...

Yay for Bernadina! One note, though. Have you seen an Ironman athlete? Or a marathoner? Distance athletes are fit and trim, not bulky. http://www.craigalexander.net/

Anonymous said...

@Rebecca Tried to point that out with a pic of Gabe Kapler (hitter of 82 HRs in his 12-year career), who was well-known for his bodybuilder physique, but apparently some net nanny decided a shirtless but otherwise clothed picture was too risque.

Anonymous said...

Serious question: WHas anyone raised the question of PIDs and whether coming into camp with 10 extra lbs of pure muscle will raise any eyebrows. What is the testing protocal this Spring? Before you rant: I have no reason to suspect Bernadina and I hope he has the breakout year he and we have been waiting for.

Anonymous said...

Agree with DFL in part. My first thought was, "Uh oh." But if it's legit, I say yahoo and second MGG's opinion.
fpcsteve

JD said...

NatsJack,

Morgan will start in center unless something unforeseen happens in camp; there are just no good alternatives at this time. Bernadina still needs to show that he can hit major league pitching consistently to secure a regular spot; jury is still out as far as I'm concerned

Anonymous said...

@rebecca - good call. I've done a 70.3 and doing my first full 140.6 next year and do not intend to look anything like that. Perhaps Mark meant that he could compete in the Worlds Strongest Man competition and not Ironman.

Kevin said...

Congrats yet again Mark for the radio gig. Tell your big boss to drop his lawsuit and I will listen in!

Sharkadina said...

The Shark is ripped! My dream come true.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Like Morgan can really pound ML pitching consistently. No arm, poor routes to fly balls, no ability to hit a cut off man.

It's Rizzo's choice to have Morgan in CF and even he will cave when he realizes the defensive inadequacy he brings to the club. Last season it didn't stand out as much due to the overall team defensive deficiecies but this year he will stand out like a sore thumb.

N. Cognito said...

When did the Nats sign Barry Bonds, III?

Wally said...

I applaud the effort, but someone should have told Roger that baseball power comes from your hips and legs, not arms.

And Morgan was still a positive UZR defender in CF last year (as he has been every year in the pros), even including all the bonehead plays, whereas Bernie has been negative UZR in CF every year. I know that it didn't look that way, but I think that there is a big difference in their defense.

erocks33 said...

can someone tell me if the UZR rating includes whether the fielder throws to the correct bag or hits the cutoff man? If not, then at this point I'd rather have Bernie in CF because I know that he can do both of those much better than Nyjer.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the sports reporters gig, think you can be sarcastic enough to keep up with those regulars?

Wally said...

@ erocks33 - I don't think so (I wasn't sure if you actually wanted to know, or were just making a point). I believe it only measures range, balls caught, errors, park, situational positioning, etc, and nothing to do with arm or throwing decisions.

I know everyone is down on Morgan. He was a dope last year, no doubt. But he has chance to be a valuable player for us, and all that he has to do is regress to his career averages for that to happen. .283/.344/.360 with 45 SBs and plus defense in CF - those are his career averages. I think that we should at least see whether he can produce that before giving up.

Tcostant said...

Mark -

Got to tell you I love the 980am spots, just heard amother. My only wish is that they would give you a half a hour or a hour on Saturday or Sunday morning. Keep up the good work.

On a totally different topic, this past Sunday I went to the Loudoun Hounds Fan Fest and had a ball. Heard Frank Howard talk and I could listen to Phil Wood all day. For those who don't know, they are atarting construction on a 5,000 seat stadium in Sterling, VA (right by Dulles Town Center) for a Independent League starting in 2012. Just wanted to share this fact with other area baseball fans.

JD said...

Wally,

I agree with you completely. If Morgan gets on base 35% of the time he will be an asset. He gets to more balls than almost any center fielder in the game and if he manages to control his emotions he can be fine. I think he irritated everyone last year (including me) with his temper tantrums but let's at least admit that his were errors of enthusiasm not of laziness.

Slidell said...

Also off topic, but intriguing--- Pujois and the Cardinals have failed to come to an agreement on a contract extension; similar to Dunn's situation last spring. Any possibility of a similar outcome? Might Lerner's big bucks make for an interesting play next winter?

JaneB said...

Congrats on the radio gig, Mark. Your new job is our good fortune.
Bernadina re-made himself last off season, too, when he was rehabbing from a serious injury from 2009 season (I want to say broken ankle? maybe wrist). He really trusts that trainer and I am sticking with that this is a trainer who works well with his client. Though that's a remarkable transformation in a few months.

Slidell, St Louis fans will burn down that stadium if they lose Albert. It's a nice fantasy, but it's a fantasy. He will end up there.

N. Cognito said...

Still plenty of time for the Cards to sign Pujols, especially if they are willing to make an absurd offer.
Under most circumstances, why wouldn't any player go ahead and test free agency.

JD said...

I think the problem with Pujols is that he wants 10 years and not everyone believes that he is 31 years old. If he is , say 34 or 35 then the last 4 or 5 years will be throw away money and at $30 mil per that's a lot of money to throw away.

NatsJack in Florida said...

N. Cognito.... I agree totally. Albert will be looking at his last long term contract and he deserves to be able to test the market and make his choice.

St. Louis has alot of tough decisions to make this next off season and you can rest assured, Albert or no Albert, LaRusso is done after 2011.

NatinBeantown said...

Mark,
Sorry, this is less a reaction to this post, but to several similar posts from the regular Nats writers yesterday:

Riggs and Rizzo consistently say the key to our offense is getting guys on in front of Zimmerman to drive in. Yet not once have I heard a team official discuss having Werth bat in front of Zim at the 3-4 spots. Werth led the league in doubles and has an OBP way higher than our 1-2 candidates. I know many here think it would be a good idea, and I know the topic is of interest. Please get Riggs comments on this at some point this spring.

My fear is that Riggs is stuck on the "comfort level" mindset, which I think is ridiculous. Zimm is the one guy in the lineup who would produce anywhere you stuck him.

upperdeck4 said...

@Wally said...
I applaud the effort, but someone should have told Roger that baseball power comes from your hips and legs, not arms.
_____
How do you know that he hasn't developed his lower body as well? I am sure the regimen encompassed the entire body.

MM said...

from the FWIW category...

major news outlets in Taiwan are reporting that Rizzo was royally pissed that Wang told US media he still needs 1-2 months and wouldn't be ready by OD and the speculation that he'd start the season on DL. Now Wang's back paddling by saying he's aimed to be ready by OD, but 1-2 months away from his best/top performances.

NatsJack in Florida said...

uperdeck4 said.... Good call. If you go to Kilgores site on Wapo there is a closer view and it sure looks like his lower body is bigger, too.

Theophilus said...

Pujols has to know that his choices as a free agent are going to be very ltd. No Yankees, no Red Sox, no Phillies (unless they do a straight up mid-season trade of Howard for Pujols). The Mets are in the middle of the Madoff litigation, the Dodgers are still going to be fighting through the McCourt divorce. Rangers went as deep as they could for Lee, and it was far short of $300MM. The only teams conceivably in the high dollar park are Angels (who in recent years have shown some common sense) and Cubs (who haven't shown common sense and have Soriano, Ramirez, Zambrano and Byrd to show for it). White Sox have sunk long term money into Dunn and Konerko. Reds have Votto, Giants have a minor league phenom at 1B. Or, the Nats, who offered Texiera how much? $140MM? Maybe Nats & Prince Albert aren't as much of a long shot as people think.

Conclusion: The bidding is between St. Louis, LAA and (maybe) Chicago. Albert better hope his kids like Disneyland.

Theophilus said...

I could add, re Pujols, that the Cubs don't need him. They have a dinky ballpark that already sells out every day (and will sell out whether they win or not) and would find it difficult to scrape out $30MM of additional revenue every season to pay for him.

Theophilus said...

Re: Lead-off. Bernandina 1st five months OBP=.327. Morgan OBP full season (not to mention what it was the last two months)OBP=.319 (that's what I remember without looking it up.

Which would you rather have? Bernandina has the speed to lead off, get infield hits, steal bases. He can run the ball into the infield smarter than Morgan can throw it.

The reluctance to drop the trap door under Morgan is truly puzzling.

DFL said...

NatinBeanTown is correct. Werth should bat third and Zimmerman fourth no matter what Zimmerman's comfort level. Werth will score on almost all of Zimmerman's doubles when on first and score on more Zimmerman singles when on second. You can't say the same for Zimmerman. And La Roche should bat fifth.

As for the Pujols situation, perhaps we can trade La Roche and someone like Desmond for one year of Pujols and negotiate with Pujols for a long term deal. Sometimes dreams can come true.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Theophilus....And one is a 26 y.o. athlete and the other is a (soon to be) 31 y.o. hockey player.

markfd said...

Would love to see Rog be an everyday player in our OF!

Congrats Mark, awesome news on the gig with 980!

Theophilus said...

DFL -- no, no, no. If all you're doing is dreaming, do nothing until the end of the season. If you sign Pujols, fine. Then trade LaRoche, who'll have a tradeable contract and will fetch value. And you really don't give up anything.

The reason the Phillies might -- ten percent probability -- trade for Pujols on spec is that they might (A) lose Howard, (B) lose out on Pujols, and (C) wipe their brows with relief and say, "Whew. At least we don't have to pay either one of those guys for the next decade."

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

"perhaps we can trade La Roche and someone like Desmond for one year of Pujols and negotiate with Pujols for a long term deal. Sometimes dreams can come true."

I'm all for dreams, but I can't imagine Albert agreeing to that.
Unless the Nats are in the race at the deadline. (Don't wake me yet...)

Anonymous said...

Add me to the list of people who think Pujols was 31 four or five years ago. I wouldn't give him a ten year contract for anything.
fpcsteve

Theophilus said...

Re: Whether Werth or Zimmerman should bat third. I recall people on the Nats saying Zimmerman was the best baserunner (combination of speed, judgment, technique) on the team.

Wally said...

Re: Pujols, if he makes it to free agency, maybe the thing to do is trade for Tex and let NYY sign Pujols. They'll be looking to make a splash after missing the playoffs this year!

Andrew said...

Nice to read that about Bernadina but keep in mind he came into the 2010 season in the best shape of his career and didn't take anything for granted for Spring 2011. I also have enjoyed the stories on Corey Brown too. Maybe we see Morse has added to his strength, speed, and agility!

Mark Z., congrats on the 980 gig!

BinM said...

Theophilus: I'd agree with you about the 1st cut for Pujols (LAA, Cubs, StL), but don't forget about 'mystery teams' like SEA, DET, COL, or even ARI. Most of them have salary coming off the books, & could be 'crusing' for 1B help & a player with some marketing 'juice' as well.

I personally think that the Nationals persuing Pujols would be foolish. Tying up that much in annual salary & length on a player over 30yo is questionable (Werth); Doing it twice would be incredibly foolish, imho. Besides, there are 'core' players currently on the roster who will need to be considered for extensions as well (RZim, Strasburg, JZimm) as well.

Pujols in a Nationals uniform is a pipe-dream, imo.

Drew8 said...

Gotta say that my first reaction to Bernadina's new physique was, "I sure hope that's legit."

Mark, I join the chorus of congrats on the 980 gig, with one caveat. I respect real sports reporters, like you and Loverro, Goessling, Boz, Kilgore and Sheinin.

Calling that crank Czaban a sports reporter is an insult to ink-stained wretches everywhere.

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