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Desmond erases doubts with hot start

Apr 23, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

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Ian Desmond is hitting .294 with six extra-base hits so far this season.

There are any number of impressive and surprising aspects to the Nationals' red-hot start to the season. A major league best 2.34 ERA and 144 strikeouts. A National League best 12 wins. Six one-run victories. Five consecutive series wins.

And then there's Ian Desmond, whose strong start might be among the most pleasant developments for the Nationals. Chided by many last season when he got off to a sluggish start, the young shortstop is enjoying the good vibes and positive press that comes with the best opening two weeks of his career.

"What a difference a year makes," he said. "Last year, this time of the year, it was a huge struggle. I had eight errors. I was hitting about .200. We weren't really winning. This year, it's a new year. It's a fresh start, which is nice. Obviously, this is best start I've had in the big leagues. I'm feeling good about it."

Desmond has every right to feel good about it, as do his Nationals teammates and coaches. Entrusted with the leadoff spot despite his atypical hitting approach for that job, he's hitting .294 with sixRead more »



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