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Moore happy, comfortable at first base

Feb 21, 2014, 4:02 PM EDT

AP AP

VIERA, Fla. — Tyler Moore played first base at Mississippi State. He played first base as he ascended through the Nationals’ farm system. And then, once he arrived in the big leagues two years ago, the young slugger found himself in a most uncomfortable position: left field.

With Adam LaRoche enjoying a Silver Slugger/Gold Glove season at first base, and with Michael Morse on the disabled list, the Nationals were desperate to get any kind of production out of their left fielders. Moore did produce at the plate as a rookie, but his glovework was understandably suspect.

Playing time was sparse for Moore last season, no matter the position, but most of the time he did get was back in left field, especially while Bryce Harper was battling injuries.

So it’s easy to understand why the 27-year-old is thrilled to be spending the vast majority of his time this spring back in a familiar spot in the infield.

“That’s just kind of where I feel at home the most,” he said. “First has always been my No. 1 position. I just feel comfortable over there. Glad to be over there back with Rochie and hopefully I’ll slide in the outfield here soon and get some reps out there. … It feels great to have one stress-free spot over there.”

Moore’s comfort level at first base is obvious even to the untrained eye. During defensive drills Friday morning, he looked particularly sharp. His footwork was crisp. His hands were soft. His throws were on-target.

Moore said he focuses on all of those skills when positioned at first base, but his biggest key there is a more generic concept.

“Mostly (being) under control,” he said. “You’ve got to scoop a ball in the dirt, keep the ball in front of you and on some of those bunt plays, just make sure your feet are under control. That’s probably the biggest thing.”

No, he’s not going to be LaRoche out there, and he may never be. But Moore’s defensive work at first base should serve as a reminder to the Nationals that he can be a highly capable fill-in, especially if he can bounce back from a difficult season at the plate.

“I feel like last year was a tough year for myself and this team,” he said. “And even though myself and this team finished strong last year, I feel like I can do a lot more than that and help out a lot more than that.”

  1. Doc - Feb 21, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    Either we play him or trade him.

    TyMo doesn’t need any more reps in the bush leagues!

  2. natsguy - Feb 21, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Just a suggestion, don’t get the MLB TV package, you’ll regret it.

    • natsjackinfl - Feb 21, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      Are you talking the internet service or cable/satellite?

      • Doc - Feb 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        I’d be interested in further opinion on the matter.

        I’m mostly interested in Nats’ games and live in the Mid-West.

        Don’t want to waste money if it’s not going to well-spent.

        Thanks

      • Section 222 - Feb 21, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        Doc, if you live in the MASN viewing area, Nats games on the MLB TV app are blacked out. Seems to me it’s a great deal if you live elsewhere. For $130 per year you get all out of market games and it includes connectivity on your mobile devices as well as your computer.

        I don’t know how this compares to DirecTV and cable packages.

        For those in the DC area, the iPhone MLB At Bat app, allows you to access both home and away radio broadcasts for every game from anyplace you have internet access. No blackouts, so Charlie and Dave are always available.

      • sjm308 - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:28 PM

        Doc -

        Its not TV but I am perfectly happy with my MLB atbat. Its either $2.99 or 3.99/month and you get Charlie & Dave on your ipad/ipod iphone + any other games you might be interested.

      • knoxvillenat - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:36 PM

        I for one have the DirectTV package and my only complaint is the blackout rule. Living in TN it is the only way I can see the games on MASN, that is except when the Nats play the Reds or the Barves when I’m blacked out and forced to watch on the other team’s tv networks.

        Reds announcers I can tolerate, the Barves? Forget about it, they are horrible.

      • pjnat - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Doc – I live in Toronto and the MLB TV service is excellent for me. Of course, you have to see if there are any local restrictions but I get all the games and I can even watch at the cottage on weekends. I highly recommend it.

  3. Candide - Feb 21, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    So if Espinosa doesn’t come out of his 1-1/2 season long funk, do we leave Zimm at 3rd, Rendon at 2nd, and move Moore to 1st when LaRoche leaves at the end of this season?

    • David Proctor - Feb 21, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      Depends on how Skole and Moore perform this year. And what’s available out there in FA and via trade. It’s very fluid.

    • unkyd59 - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:18 PM

      I think Skole bats L…. Effective platoon?

  4. Hiram Hover - Feb 21, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    Where Moore wants to play in the field won’t matter if his hitting doesn’t pick up.

    He just plain stunk at the plate last year.

    • Section 222 - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM

      +1 No way Moore is our next starting 1B if he can’t take it to another level this year.

      • NatsNut - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:37 PM

        I know I just said this below, but I think the chicken comes first on this one, not the egg. I don’t think he can take it to another level without playing more. They make this guy a bench player, which is hard enough for a veteran to adjust to, but he was a rookie! He did ok in ’12, but he also had a bunch of playing time. I think they need to give him more playing time so he can take it another level. And oh look, they’re looking for someone who could back up LaRoche when a lefty starts. Hm, I know a guy. And it aint Zimmerman.

      • Hiram Hover - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        Sorry, Nats Nut, but playing time isn’t the culprit.

        He had more PA, more starts, more total innings, and more time at 1B in 2013 than 2012.

      • letswin3 - Feb 21, 2014 at 11:32 PM

        Wow, HH, I just checked Moore’s numbers and you are spot on. My perception was way off too. He simply dropped off considerably in ’13, with similar numbers for PA, innings and even games at first base. But whoever said play him or trade him is probably right. In both ’12 and ’13 in AAA he played nearly every day and hit 307 and 318 ….. does this mean that more regular at bats would likely elevate his offensive numbers? I honestly don’t know this answer, but I’m hopeful that some of you will share your opinions.

      • NatsNut - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:35 AM

        HH,
        Oh, wow. Bummer. I felt so strongly about it too.

  5. NatsNut - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    Finally, something about Moore playing 1B. I just don’t understand it. We got a guy who came up as a first baseman, showed us in 2012 that he could bash when given consistent playing time, confirms this in 2013 by getting little playing time and stinking up the plate, we got a current first baseman in his last contract year and we make ZIMMERMAN get a first baseman’s glove? Sure, his defense wasn’t great the last time we actually called him a first baseman, but we threw Rendon out there having about 5 seconds of experience at 2B. Why in the world has it not even been a topic of team/beat writer discussions the possibility that Moore would or should be be groomed to step in after LaRoche? It’s crazy to me.

    • Candide - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:12 PM

      You and me both, NatsNut.

      But maybe that’s why I don’t get paid the big bucks to be the GM…

  6. Doc - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Thanks for the info on TV package Section 222 and sjm308. I have(or they have me) Comcast/Infinity.

    I get blacked out 7 ways to Tuesday–both Chicagos, Cards, Detroit, Cinci, and Cleveland!

    I watched MLB.TV on my large computer the past few years. Thought I might upgrade to the real TV. I thought I heard that blackouts had been ruled illegal by the Feds—anybody know about that.

  7. realdealnats - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    With people you get the whole package, you can’t cherry pick. It a mosaic of strengths and weaknesses.

    With Moore, no matter how much more time he got in ’13 than in ’12, he is a player who needs to play everyday. He excelled in AAA doing that and was averaging 31 homers or so his last two full years there. Now wether that will ever translate to the Bigs or not is a question we will not know until he plays full time, imho. He might very well come up short. Or he might, in a couple years, come on strong like Crush Davis up in B’more. But inconsistent play at adopted positions or coming in cold off the bench does not play to this person’s strengths. In 2014 TyMo might surprise as in ’12, but more likely we’ll still be trading comments here wondering what we’ve got, hoping to get apples from a pear tree. I think David Proctor is correct, it is a very fluid situation, considering all the factors.

    I continue to say platoon him more at 1B with LaRoche, and unless there is a great FA out there, start him next year. You’ll still have a fluid situation next year too, possibly platooning him a bit with RZim, or Skole while you either find your answer from within or look over still another year of FAs.

    • NatsNut - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:37 AM

      +1

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