Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/4/12

Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson tends to set the bar high for his players, and shortstop Ian Desmond is one of the players that Johnson has spoken highly of since taking over as the team's manager late last June.

There were some doubters of Desmond, who could be inconsistent at times on offense and defense. But all that has changed this year.

Desmond has earned his first All-Star berth this season with a tremendous first half even though he's not in the leadoff spot, which is where Johnson originally wanted him to hit.

Desmond went 1-for-4 with two RBI in Wednesday's 9-4 win over the Giants, keeping a recent hot streak going. His two-run single in the third tied the game at 3 and helped turn things around.

Desmond is hitting .279 with 14 homers and 47 RBI. The 14 homers already are a career high for Desmond, who is just two RBI short of his total for all of 2011.

"He's doing things we all know he's capable of doing," Johnson said.

Desmond started the season as the leadoff hitter, but Johnson moved him to the middle of the lineup, usually the No. 6 spot, early on. He's flourished in the middle so far, even batting fifth in this game.

Johnson said Desmond's showing the patience needed at the plate to do big things. That's a key reason he posted such big numbers, and Johnson expects even more from him in the second half.

"He's getting there," Johnson said.

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