Desmond drops weight, feels swifter as season comes to a close

It has been noticeable during recent at-bats that Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond appears to be completely recovered from a nagging quad injury that had him stepping carefully early on in the season.

The shortstop went 6-for-18 in Philadelphia, with three runs, a stolen base, two doubles and an RBI.

Friday, Desmond once again took advantage of the opportunity to lead off and show his speed, generating a pair of infield singles in the 7-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

In his first at-bat, Desmond slapped a high chopper towards Braves’ third baseman Chipper Jones. By the time Jones had the ball roll in his glove, Desmond had easily crossed first base with a single.

“I think (the grounders for base hits Friday) is kind of a fluke thing the last couple of days,” Desmond said. “Every time I put the ball on the ground I am thinking run as fast as you can and put the pressure on the defense.”

But Desmond said he certainly does feel swifter and believes the top reason is the lighter weight he is carrying as the season finishes.

“It is definitely something I noticed,” Desmond said. “I think at the beginning of the year I was battling that quad injury. I do feel quicker.”

This time of year, Desmond formulates what his offseason conditioning regimen will entail. He thinks that going into spring training 2012 at a lower weight might be a very viable option.

“It is something I am going to look at in the offseason,” Desmond said. “I think at the beginning of the year I was at 220 lbs. and I am down to 210 (lbs.) now. I feel little bit quicker and little bit more agile.

“Even at 220 (lbs.) I was stealing bases at the beginning of the year, but I feel faster now. There is always little things you can try to tinker with and improve on. I think next year that is something I am going to focus on and being a little lighter and more agile.”

Desmond also believes leading off in the batting order each night might have contributed to being more aggressive and using his speed with more frequency to get on base.

“Being able to get five at-bats in a game you get more opportunities to see more pitches and to make things happen,” Desmond said.

“Obviously, being a shortstop, you know how much more difficult it is when you see a guy flying down the line as opposed to a guy who is taking his time. Everyone kind of gets the rap. You are either a guy who runs hard or a guy that doesn’t. I want to put pressure on the defense and any way I can get on base I will take it, doesn’t matter.”

But Desmond believes he could seriously consider coming into camp in February carrying less without sacrificing anything in the batter’s box.

“I feel good right now (at this weight),” Desmond said. “I guess when I realized it is I still had my power 10 lbs. less and a lot less muscle. I came into spring training a lot bigger than I am now. I don’t think how big you are really matters in baseball, to be honest.”

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