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Bench has been key part of Nats' success

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' bench has been historically good, and the thing that excites manager Davey Johnson is that it is likely to soon get better.

The club's pinch-hitters have a .423 on-base percentage this season, the highest mark recorded by a Nationals club since STATS, Inc., began recording pinch-hit stats in 1974.

And with the return of infielder Chad Tracy on the horizon, it could mean even more of a lift off the bench.

Tracy, who is rehabbing with the Class A Potomac Nationals, is working his way back from a torn right groin muscle he suffered on May 26. He is hitting .265 with a .837 OPS this season, with three homers and 12 RBIs. He's 6-for-18 as a pinch-hitter on the year, and nine of his RBIs have come in the pinch.

"I want to get back as soon as possible, and if I feel I can help the team off the bench, I think Davey would want me there," Tracy said.

The bench has fared well in Tracy's absence, with pinch-hitters recording a .292 batting average, with 10 doubles, a triple, two homers, 16 RBIs, 17 walks and 12 runs scored.

Mark DeRosa and Tyler Moore each notched key pinch-hit doubles in Thursday night's 6-5 comeback win against the Giants.

"The bench has been outstanding," Johnson said. "And it's gonna get better when Tracy gets back."

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WAS Full Game Coverage HINGTON -- The Nationals' bench has been historically good, and the thing that excites manager Davey Johnson is that it is likely to soon get better.

The club's pinch-hitters have a .423 on-base percentage this season, the highest mark recorded by a Nationals club since STATS, Inc., began recording pinch-hit stats in 1974.

And with the return of infielder Chad Tracy on the horizon, it could mean even more of a lift off the bench.

Tracy, who is rehabbing with the Class A Potomac Nationals, is working his way back from a torn right groin muscle he suffered on May 26. He is hitting .265 with a .837 OPS this season, with three homers and 12 RBIs. He's 6-for-18 as a pinch-hitter on the year, and nine of his RBIs have come in the pinch.

"I want to get back as soon as possible, and if I feel I can help the team off the bench, I think Davey would want me there," Tracy said.

The bench has fared well in Tracy's absence, with pinch-hitters recording a .292 batting average, with 10 doubles, a triple, two homers, 16 RBIs, 17 walks and 12 runs scored.

Mark DeRosa and Tyler Moore each notched key pinch-hit doubles in Thursday night's 6-5 comeback win against the Giants.

"The bench has been outstanding," Johnson said. "And it's gonna get better when Tracy gets back."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Washington Nationals