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Goodwin Gets Back On Track



WASHINGTONFor a player who has had his share of ups and downs in his career, Triple-A Syracuse center fielder Brian Goodwin has managed to maintain an equilibrium.

"He knows where he wants to go,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner Jr. said the day after Goodwin hit his first career grand slam in a win against Norfolk. "One of his strengths is that he doesn’t get on that roller-coaster. He stays even-keeled no matter how he’s going.”


Two seasons after Goodwin struggled so badly in the International League that the Nationals demoted him back to Double-A Harrisburg, the 25-year-old has been one of Triple-A’s most impressive hitters.

The 2011 supplemental first-round pick is hitting lefthanders like he never has before. After the grand slam off southpaw Zach Phillips, the lefty-hitting Goodwin was batting .386/.417/.579 with strikeouts 31 percent of the time versus same-side pitchers.

Overall, Goodwin was hitting .308 through 156 at-bats to rank sixth in the IL batting race. His career resurrection began with Margarita of the Venezuelan League last winter.

The first two months of the season was Goodwin’s most successful stretch since 2012 at low Class A Hagerstown, where he shined the year after being drafted out of Miami Dade JC and signing for $3 million.

Goodwin jumped to Syracuse in 2014, but hit just .219 and hurt his wrist. Then he hit .226 at Harrisburg last season.

Through it all, Gardner has seen Goodwin simply "grind it out” and put in the effort to get better.

"I’ve been impressed by what Brian has done to this point,” Gardner said. "His swing is more reliable, and that’s a testament to the work he has put in with our coaches and coordinators. His approach against lefties has improved dramatically. He’s trending in the right direction.”

CAPITAL GAINS

• The Nationals picked up president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo’s contract option for 2018. "He and the baseball operations team have worked tirelessly to help build this organization into one of Major League Baseball’s elite clubs,” principal owner Ted Lerner said. "We are fortunate to have him.”

• Harrisburg first baseman Neftali Soto, signed as a minor league free agent in February, won an Eastern League player of the week award after twice driving in six runs in a game.

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