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For the Nationals, 'it's nice to have' Adam Dunn at first

Not to jinx anything, but Adam Dunn did nothing to warrant notice at first base during the season's first series. That, for a player best known for his -25.0 UZR at first base last season, is a good thing.

As the spring wore on, Dunn found increased comfort around first, which he played last season but never really learned. The rhythm of the regular season, with none of spring training's frequent offdays and truncated games, has helped him since opening day.

"The more you play it," Manager Jim Riggleman said, "the better you get."

Dunn's best attribute at first may not show up in his own statistics. His immense frame provides fielders both an impossible target to miss and confidence to make an accurate throw. Nationals infielders rave about his improved ability to scoop balls in the dirt, but his size gives him a unique advantage.

"Having a big target over there makes you more comfortable," third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "He's good at catching the all in the dirt, too. So it's nice to have someone over there like that."

Zimmerman may be the best test case. Last season, 14 of Zimmerman's 17 errors came on bad throws, and 49 of his 65 career errors are throwing. Going back through game logs, I could not determine which of Zimmerman's errors in certain games were throwing or fielding. But through 99 games last year, Zimmerman committed 13 errors. From July 31, when Dunn became the regular first baseman, through today, Zimmerman has made four errors in 62 games.

So most of Zimmerman's errors are throwing errors, and he seems to make far fewer errors when Dunn is playing first. Said Zimmerman: "It's nice to have him over there."

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 9, 2010; 7:04 PM ET
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Next: Game 4 discussion thread -- Nationals at Mets


Unfortunately, Harrisburg doesn't bring us great pitching news today, either. Aaron Thompson gave up 5 runs in only 3 2/3 innings before being pulled. The Senators are down 5-1.


Posted by: kevincostello | April 9, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

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