Nationals News: Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond arrive at Spring Training

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Good morning DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! Today will be yet another brutally cold day in our nation’s capital, but rest assured that the Washington Nationals are getting closer and closer to live baseball action in Viera, Fla.

Spring Training kicked into another gear yesterday, as more and more players continued to arrive to the team’s complex in Viera. Some notable arrivals yesterday included Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman, both of whom quickly got to work in their first day of Spring Training.

In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson discusses Zimmerman’s transition to first base. The former Gold Glove-winning third baseman will officially slide across the diamond to first base this season, and him becoming accustomed to his new position will be key for the Nationals this season.

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Not surprisingly, Zimmerman immediately got to work at first base as he began what will likely be an intensive practice program at the position all spring. As Ladson notes, Zimmerman is expected to practice his skills at first base with coaches every morning.

Also in today’s Daily, Ladson discusses Ian Desmond’s mindset entering the final year of his contract. Like most of the team’s other players that are entering their walk years, Desmond says he is focused solely on helping the team win and not on his contract situation.

While extending Desmond would be huge for the Nationals, it’s also important that his contract situation does not become a distraction for him or for the team. Desmond is one of the most important players on the team and the Nationals need him to be fully focused on his game every single day, even if that means postponing contract negotiations.

While there are still over six weeks to go before Opening Day, Spring Training is starting to heat up for the Nationals. With players like Zimmerman and Desmond already roaming the fields at the team’s complex in Viera, the baseball season is starting to seem less like a distant dream and more like reality. As always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Nationals Spring Training needs, and checkout the articles we mentioned earlier below:

Zimmerman getting used to seeing field from new position

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — Ryan Zimmerman didn’t waste any time after he arrived at Space Coast Stadium on Monday morning. With manager Matt Williams and several of his coaches on hand, Zimmerman was taking part in drills at first base, a position he will play every day this season

Zimmerman was taking ground balls and finding ways to feel comfortable around the bag. The session lasted about 30 minutes. Zimmerman is expected to work out at first base every morning with the coaching staff.

“It’s a process. He is new to the position. He has played it sometimes [last year], but not a lot,” Williams said. “He did a lot of work last year at the position, but the game reps are not there for him. We are going over the basics of footwork, positioning, his thoughts on where he would like to play, what he can or [cannot] do, what he feels comfortable with. That was a little bit of the introduction this morning.” Read full article here.

Desmond plans to ‘enjoy every single day’ with Nationals

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond arrived in camp Monday in a great mood. He said hello to most of his teammates and even gave a big hug to a member of the media.

Nothing is going to foul up Desmond’s mood this season. Desmond is a free agent after this season and vows there will be no distractions as far as contract talks are concerned.

“I owe it to everybody here to give my 100 percent concentration and that’s what I’m going to do,” Desmond said. “All the other stuff is really not going to be talked about. It’s time to go.” Read full article here.

Next: Nationals Opinions: Mookie Betts A Trade Option At Second Base

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