Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Roger Bernadina worked hard this offseason, and it shows.
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.