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A 'fresh start' at first base for Adam Dunn

Adam Dunn played 67 games at first base last season, and at no point did the position begin to feel like his own. He felt awkward even standing on the right side of the diamond, used to the movements necessary to break on a ball coming at him in left field.

Last year, Dunn made eight errors despite manning first base for less than half the season, and according to FanGraphs, Dunn's UZR/150 at first base was -25.0, the worst among first basemen with any considerable playing time.

But Dunn is okay with that. He feels last year, once Nick Johnson was traded and the Nationals asked him to play first, he never really had a chance. He believes this season is going to be different. For the first time, he feels like first base is his position.

"This is definitely a fresh start for me," Dunn said. "I'm really having to learn a new position. I know I've played it before, but I've never learned it before now. My feetwork, things like that. It's learning a new position."

(Here, Dunn paused. "Is that what it is? Why footwork? I've got two of them. I'm saying feetwork.")

Full-squad practices begin tomorrow, but Dunn has been down in Viera taking grounders from infield coaches Tim Foli and Pat Listach. Critics have dogged Dunn for his defense throughout his career, the primary belief among them that Dunn, who has played his entire career in the National League, would someday have to switch to the American League and become a designated hitter. Dunn remains staunchly and defiantly opposed to the notion.

"I've been hearing that since I was 24. I'm still in the National League somehow," Dunn said. "I don't really care what people think. If I wanted to play in the American League, I would have played in the American League. That's something I'm not interested in doing.

"I'm not worried about the next stage of my career. Whatever. People can say what they want. I'm worried about the present, now. Whatever happens, happens. I know that that's what we need to be successful, is me to play first base. I don't want to go out there and make a jackass out of myself. I really want to learn the position and be five times better than I was last year.

"I'm not going to sit there and say I'm going to be the best ever. But I'm not going to be the worst. I can say that."

By Adam Kilgore  |  February 25, 2010; 2:05 PM ET
 
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Next: Stephen Strasburg impresses again

Comments

Welcome aboard Adam

Posted by: swanni | February 25, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Welcome (back) Adam...

Posted by: wigi | February 25, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I also wanted to comment that chico has taken some hits from this crowd over the last year -- and sometimes with justification -- but his candid interview with Jesus Flores has thus far been the best example of good journalism since ST started. I don't know if any of the other beat writers could have pulled it off.

Posted by: swanni | February 25, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Your 2010 Washington Nationals! We're not the worst ever!

Posted by: swang30 | February 25, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of journalism, who will be first to report the name (and position) of this "close to the bigs" Dominican player who Stan K says the nats will soon sign? Adam/Chico? Ladson? The $5,000 man? Ben G? The race is on.

Posted by: swanni | February 25, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love the Big Donkey!

Posted by: Stu27 | February 25, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love the big palooka. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John1 | February 25, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

They've already signed the international guys. Just waiting for MLB vetting to be completed before Kasten/Rizzo make the announcement. Given their track record on preventing leaks (their biggest source of that being the long-gone Bowden) the first any of those reporters will hear any names is at the press conference.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 25, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

This Year's Promotional Slogan: Never again in 2010!!

Posted by: Section506 | February 25, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Nunof, u don't think one of these guys can break the story? Maybe Ken rosenthal will...

Posted by: swanni | February 25, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Long as Dunn is eager to learn the position I can put up with his errors; after all its not like he signed here as a firstbaseman (although one wonders where he was signed to play). You remember at the baseball classic how much energy he brought to that team; he is the type of player we need to keep. Please sign him to an extension!

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 25, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I understand the range and glove factors in UZR but I wonder if they factor in the bigger target that AD presents to his infield teammates. Having someone of AD's size over there at first has gotta help sometimes too.

Posted by: Bazz | February 25, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Way to stick up for the senior circuit, Dunn!

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 25, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"used to the movements necessary to break on a ball coming at him in left field."

I like Adam Dunn a lot, but that may be overstating his skills in the outfield.

Posted by: markfromark | February 25, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Whatever Dunn did at 1st wasn't as bad as his adventures in left field. Man I was there opening game in Florida when it all began and that was just plain ugly. First base should be a major improvement for both him and the team.
Go Nats.
(Lerners still CHEAP!)

Posted by: dovelevine | February 25, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Go get 'em, Dunner!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

re: Nats @ 1st Base 2010.
Dunn will do.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | February 25, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

used to the movements necessary to break on a ball coming at him in left field."

I like Adam Dunn a lot, but that may be overstating his skills in the outfield.

Posted by: markfromark | February 25, 2010 3:48 PM

******************

OMG, LOL. My vote for post of the day.

(still) LOL

Posted by: NatsNut | February 25, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Dunn was the worst leftfielder I have ever seen. I am sure his fielding alone cost the Nationals many games. If he isn't any better at first, which I believe he can be, there is always the American league DH.

Posted by: bobilly2 | February 25, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

"I am sure his fielding alone cost the Nationals many games. "

His UZR appears to indicate that is likely to be true.

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"The Ghost of Dusty Rhodes" would make a great album title.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 25, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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