Number, expectations changing for Tyler Moore

There will be changes for first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore in 2013. For starters, he’s ditched the offensive lineman’s No. 57 that used to be on his jersey. Instead, he’s returned to a more familiar No. 12.

“I’ve always had it,” Moore said at NatsFest, “all through the minors.”

The last player to don No. 12 for the Nationals? Pinch hitter deluxe Matt Stairs in 2011.

The number on his back won’t be the only change Moore will deal with for 2013. With the trade of Michael Morse to Seattle, he is no longer a rookie trying to force his way into playing time. Morse’s departure and the re-signing of Adam LaRoche mean Moore is now the primary backup at first base and a right-handed power bat off the bench.

“It’s (been) a little crazy, but I’m so glad we signed LaRoche back,” Moore said. “Unfortunately, we lost Morse, but we got another player back in (A.J.) Cole. Very fortunate to have LaRoche back. He’s very solid as a player and couldn’t ask for a better teammate and leader, too.”

Moore eschewed coverage of the Nats’ lengthy offseason negotiations with LaRoche, and the inevitable trade talk surrounding Morse, for deer hunting trips in his native Mississippi.

“People were telling me every now and again what’s going on,” he said. “I was hoping both those guys would come back, but obviously with Morse being gone, it opens up a little more position for me to come in and contribute. You try not to get yourself mingled up with all that stuff. It worked out how it did and I’m fortunate how it worked out.”

Last year, Moore came to camp hoping to get noticed. He ended up making enough of an impression that he had a decisive two-run single that won the Nationals a playoff game and he finished with 10 home runs in 171 plate appearances over 75 games.

“I really don’t have anything completely locked up,” Moore insisted. “You try to go for that starting position. Just hopefully everybody stays healthy and we roll on from there.”

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