From the AFL: Larry Broadway

It might not be long before Larry Broadway, the Nationals power hitting first base prospect, becomes one of the more recognizable faces in the league. After a tough first half in which the lowlight was a knee injury, Broadway took it upon himself to get stronger, and saw the results in the second half of the season.

Perhaps the reporter was misinformed, perhaps it was a slip of the tongue, regardless, he walks up to the big lefty just before the prospect steps into the cage and says, "Hey Lance, you got a minute?"
Larry Broadway."

The reporter stops, looks down at his notes, smiles.

"You sure you've got the right guy? Lance got drafted this year I think."

Apparently he's had this particular case of mistaken identity before, and after a quick checklist, (yes, he's a first baseman, yes he had a knee injury earlier this year, yes he's a top Nationals prospect) the reporter is convinced that he's got the right guy, but the wrong name.

Apologies all around, a little mild embarrassment.

"Um, well, thanks, sorry about that," the reporter tries to regain his composure, "my boss just gave me the wrong info."

Easiest way to handle the situation, blame the boss.

The thing is, it probably won't be long before Larry Broadway is having no trouble at all getting recognized. A power hitting lefty first baseman, Broadway put himself solidly in line for a spot on the big league roster after a 2004 season in which he hit .270 with 22 homers in the Double-A Eastern League. Nick Johnson wasn't putting up the power numbers, and the Expos were always looking to bring in the younger, cheaper players...

And then the Expos became the Nationals.

"There's good and bad to a situation like that," Broadway says, "You want to be on a team that's going to compete, that's going to fight for a playoff spot, but I admit, I'd kind of like to get up there and start to get my service time in."

As it turns out, '05 might not have been Broadway's year anyway. After getting off to a rough start in Triple-A this year Broadway was sidelined with a knee injury just a month into the season. He didn't make it back to game action until late June, and it was mid July before he was brought up from extended spring training and after a short stint in Rookie League ball with the Gulf Coast League Nationals.

Once Broadway got back up to Double-A, things started to return to normal, sort of. In 186 at bats Broadway hit .269, but cranked 12 homers, showcasing power that he claims came from his time on the DL.

"The biggest thing I did during rehab was try to gain weight," he says, "I put on pounds, but good pounds, muscle, and I think that really showed in my second half."

So now Broadway's in the AFL, doing what he does best, hitting the ball hard. He cranked his first home run of the AFL season on Tuesday, but the average is up as well. As far as this season goes, Broadway knows his strong second half, combined with a strong AFL, should make up for any doubts his injury might have put in the Nationals' minds.

"This league is a collection of the best pitching prospects and the best hitting prospects, it's a huge opportunity for me, both to impress and to improve. I think this league can help me tremendously."

And if it helps him, then it gets him closer to helping the Nationals, and helping everyone else remember which Broadway he is.

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