Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond told me this week he gets to camp every day before 7:00 a.m. because he wants to be there “early, as a younger player”. He reads on the board what he will work on that day and gets on the field.
He spent a few moments with me talking about his experiences so far and the possibility he could be the everyday shortstop for the Nationals.
How has spring training gone for you so far?
“I got here early and settled in (February 10th). I feel really good. My body feels good and my mind is right. My swing feels good. I just have to keep it going.”
What’s the Nationals brass telling you right now?
“I feel like the September call-up last season was good for me so they could see me play at the big league level. They want me to be up when I am 100 percent ready. They want me to improve a little more.”
How is this camp different from others you have attended?
“The atmosphere is unbelievable. I have been in camp with these guys in Melbourne before and this is the most excitement I have ever been around.
“We got a bunch of gamers now. Nothing against guys from the past. The front office went out and got some gamers. The team we have now is going to go out and play hard.”
When you hear through the media that they want you to play a utility role or maybe the everyday shortstop here or in Syracuse, how do you react to that talk?
“That is the first I hear about it. I only hear about that stuff when you (or another reporter) tells me. I don’t get caught up in news. I just want to be the best everyday at baseball.
“If the (shortstop) position were mine I would rather find out at the end of spring training. I want to go through spring training hungry. I want the hungry feeling to stay in my belly.
“They have a great team here. I know my time is coming whether it is this month or sometime this year. I will be ready.”
Desmond said he did play a little bit in the outfield last year in Syracuse and a couple of innings up with the Nats in September. He said just like any other position he will practice it to get used to tracking balls hit off the bat versus facing a ball machine.
Ian has practiced double play combinations with Willie Harris and Adam Kennedy as the team continually works on fundamentals in Viera.