New Nat Marrero eager to improve at top level

Nationals first baseman Chris Marrero is into his second week with the big club and has registered seven hits in eight games, batting .241. He has hung in there at first base as he gets acclimated to the speed of the game and has leaned on the coaching staff and his teammates to help him get better.

Marrero said it has been an exciting couple of weeks playing for the Nats.

“Yes, definitely. I am playing every day here I am having fun,” Marrero said. “I am just getting used to playing with these guys and I want to keep doing my job and help contribute and win some games.”

Marrero can be seen often commiserating with teammate Danny Espinosa, his locker mate on that side of the Nationals clubhouse.

“It helps to have someone you know on the team,” Marrero said. “I know a couple of guys on the team. They see me play in the past and they can help me correct my mistakes.”

Marrero is happy with his progress in the batter’s box, but still feels he can do more. That comes with what he needs: games and at-bats.

“I am doing OK(at the plate),” Marrero said. “I feel I can be doing better but the more pitching I see the more I get used to playing up here the better I am going to be.”

Marrero has also been concentrating, as he has done all season at Triple-A Syracuse, on improving his defense at first base.

“I have been working with the trainer early before the games and working on moving my feet,” Marrero said. “I been feeling comfortable at first base. The more I play with (Ryan) Zimmerman, (Ian) Desmond and Espinosa, the more I will be able to get comfortable.”

Marrero had a smile on his face Saturday night when he watched his teammate from the Chiefs, pitcher Tommy Milone, pitch three scoreless innings to start and smack an amazing three-run homer to give the Nationals a 5-0 led over the Mets.

“I have played with Tom (Milone) the past two years and I have seen (what he can do),” Marrero said. “I knew he was going to be a good big leaguer, he has the stuff and he can hit to.”

Marrero’s baseball year will not slow down after the major league regular season is over. He played winter ball in Puerto Rico last year and this off season will embark on another challenge.

“I am going to the Dominican Republic probably, down in mid-October,” Marrero said. “I will play for about a month. I think it would be a good experience. Hopefully, the Syracuse catcher, Jhonatan Solano, might be going, too. Hopefully, he goes. It would be nice to have him there.”

Marrero said it was important for him to keep swinging after Sept. 29 and stay in a good rhythm before spring training 2012. The Dominican poses a great challenge in competition.

“It is a different experience,” Marrero said. “There is a real good level of talent there. You want to compare your talent with everybody else. I want to get more at-bats.”

Marrero had his greatest answer when I asked him if he had been able to settle down and get into a groove now that he has 10 days under his belt.

“I don’t think I can ever settle down,” Marrero said. “I am happy I am here. I just want to keep working hard, if not harder and stay here.”

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