Player Profile: Stephen Lombardozzi Jr.
With aspirations of being a Major Leaguer and a father who played pro ball, the expectations for you to succeed are always high. When your father is Steve Lombardozzi, whose heroics in the 1987 World Series captured the title for the Twins for the first time in 53 years, the shoes are bigger to fill. The Nationals’ 19th round pick in the 2008 draft (571 overall) only spent 2 years in the minors before being called up last September. After a productive spring, Lombardozzi was granted a spot on the Nationals’ 25 man roster.
Since starting the season on the bench, Lombo has played spot duty for Desmond and Espinoza up the middle, as well as filling in for Zimmerman for 11 games when he went down with a shoulder injury. Stephen even found himself in left field for 4 games this year, a position he has seldom played in his career. Needless to say, Davey Johnson wants him in the lineup.
“I like finding time for him,” Johnson said to the Washington Post. “He’s been playing great. He’s a great second baseman, and he’s been playing everywhere. He’s an outstanding utility guy for us. I like the fact that he’s getting on base better than anybody. It’s more me finding a spot for him.”
That being said, Davey is not willing to give him a full time role at the Nats other young, promising infielder Danny Espinoza’s expense — although early in the year, Espinoza’s struggles have lead Nationals fans to question Davey’s reasoning for not making the switch. Reasons could be for trade value for either player, giving Espinoza time to get his confidence back up at the plate, or possibly saving him for a late September playoff push. Regardless, look for Stephen Lombardozzi to be one of the league’s premier utility players for the time being.