Roger Bernadina went 3-for-22 with three RBI for the Netherlands in the WBC.
Nearly four weeks later, Bernadina is finally set to rejoin the Nationals, his long and winding WBC trek having taken him to Taiwan, Tokyo, Phoenix, San Francisco and now back to Viera at long last after the Netherlands was eliminated in the tournament's semifinal game last night.
Bernadina was right in the thick of the action for the surprise Netherlands team, which advanced out of pool play in Taiwan, then eliminated Cuba in the second round before finally falling to the powerhouse Dominican Republic team last night at AT&T park. Batting third and starting in center field for six of the Dutch's eight WBC games, Bernadina hit only .136 (3-for-22) but drove in three runs and played defensively to help his club advance as far as it did.
Bernadina (and the Nationals) did get a scare when he was struck in the wrist by a fastball on March 10 and had to miss two games, but he returned to play for the semifinal and went 1-for-4.
Now the Nationals must try to get their No. 4 outfielder back into regular-season shape in a condensed window, with only nine more days of Grapefruit League play and then one final exhibition game in Washington, March 29 against the Yankees.
Trouble is, Davey Johnson has wanted to use this final stretch of the spring to get his starters ready for Opening Day and plans to play most of them every day for the full nine innings. The veteran manager will have to find a way both to accomplish that while also getting Bernadina some necessary at-bats before camp winds down.
With Bernadina back in camp, only one member of the Nationals remains away for the WBC. Outfielder Eury Perez will cheer on his Dominican teammates in tonight's championship game against Puerto Rico before returning to Viera. Perez was already optioned to Class AAA Syracuse last week, though, so he'll report directly to minor-league camp upon his return.