Willingham happy to be back with Nationals

Outfielder Josh Willingham returned to the Nationals on Saturday after spending seven days with his family in Alabama. The Willinghams were mouring the death of Josh’s younger brother, Jon, who passed away in a car accident last week. 

Willingham said he could play right away, but manager Manny Acta is concerned about Willingham’s conditioning after missing seven days. For the next two days, at least, Willingham will come off the bench. Once he is ready, Willingham will be the everyday right fielder, while Austin Kearns becomes a reserve. Entering Saturday’s action, Willingham is hitting .246 with nine home runs and 12 RBIs. 

“As we know, Josh wasn’t doing any baseball activities over there, so he is going to hit and do some baseball activities today,” Acta said. “If there is a chance, we’ll probably pinch-hit him if he feels that he could do it. It’s going to take a day or two before he can be out there playing for us.”

The media wasn’t allowed to ask Willingham about his brother, but he said it’s therapeutic to be back with the team.

“It’s good to have people — familiar faces and friends — you care about and you care about them. They are hurting with you.” Willingham said.              

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