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Laynce Nix has played admirably through nagging injuries and position changes.
Nix told his manager he didn't think he'd done it since high school.
To which Johnson replied: "Well, you've got a good memory, don't you?"
So it was that Nix -- veteran of 1,093 professional games in the major and minor leagues, all of them spent in the outfield -- found himself standing at first base in the top of the seventh of a tight ballgame.
And found himself tracking down a pop-foul off the bat of the very first batter that came to the plate. And then found himself scooping a low throw out of the dirt from third baseman Alex Cora.
"Of course the game is going to find you when you move to a new spot," he said later with a laugh. "It's always kind of funny how that happens. I can't say I was too comfortable at first."
He could've fooled his manager.
"Nixy looked like a Gold Glover over there," Johnson said. "He scooped one out of the dirt and looked very comfortable over there. That's a big plus for us when we're banged up over there."
Johnson knew over the weekend he might need some emergency help at first base after starter Michael Morse took a fastball off his left forearm. Morse has missed the last two games with a deep bruise, and since he's still unable to get the arm to fully rotate side-to-side, he'll likely to miss at least another game or two.
Matt Stairs took over Sunday against the Pirates and again yesterday against the Cubs, but the 43-year-old got banged-up himself when he went hard into the railing along the first-base line trying to track down a foul-pop.
So there's a good chance Nix will make his first career start at first base tonight. Even though he's been dealing with his own nagging injury: a strained Achilles' tendon that has forced him to the bench on occasion and hampered his ability to track down balls from his usual station in left field.
Nix, 30, has been invaluable to the Nationals this season. Signed late in the offseason to a minor-league contract, he made the Opening Day roster as a reserve outfielder, then forced his way into a regular spot in the lineup by hitting .280 with 12 homers, 32 RBI and an .844 OPS through the first half of the season.
So it only makes sense he'd be the one to step in during an emergency and prove to be an adept first baseman, helping his team out once again.
"It was pretty wild," he said. "I'm still trying to figure out how that worked out, but it was fun. Davey just put me in there, and go from there. But it was cool."