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Nationals' Tyler Moore Hopes To Bounce Back In 2014

February 27, 2014

VIERA, Fla. -- The 2013 season wasn't a lost one for Tyler Moore, a young right-handed slugger for the Washington Nationals. But it was a challenging one.

A 30-home run guy in the minors, Moore struggled to adjust in a reserve role for then-manager Davey Johnson. Moore was sent back down to Triple-A Syracuse, where he hit .318 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs in 173 at bats during 45 games.

Nationals 2013: Tyler Moore
Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/PressBox

He came back to the Nationals in August and overall hit .222 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 167 at bats with Washington.

Moore will bat in the No. 7 hole as the designated hitter in the lineup that new Washington manager Matt Williams posted in the clubhouse for the spring training opener Feb. 28 on the road against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

"I have to build on what I learned last year," Moore said Feb. 27, sitting in front of his locker in the Washington clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium. "Of course it was a tough year for me and the team last year. I think we both ended strong and were able to overcome some things."

Moore, a Mississippi native, got married to Whitney, his high school sweetheart, in late January, around the same time he turned 27. The couple bought their first house, not far from where Moore grew up in Brandon, Miss.

"We have known each other a long time, since middle school," Moore said. "[The wedding] was a long time coming. I am glad we got it done."

Moore worked out lifting weights and other activities at a high school and indoor facilities in Mississippi with Seth Smith, an outfielder born in Jackson, Miss., who was with Oakland last season and is now with the San Diego Padres. 

"I had the same routine as past offseasons," Moore said. "Lifting weights can be pretty [boring]. It is cool to have [Smith] down there. He is a good friend of mine."

Moore was a player who in the past could have benefited from four at bats every day, and that was perhaps one reason he was sent back to Syracuse last season. Now, he seems to realize that to stay in the big leagues, he may have to adapt to being a role player. 

"It is always good to get at bats and be comfortable," said Moore, drafted out of Mississippi State by the Nationals during the 16th round in 2008. "At the same time, I feel I can be a bench player if they need that -- whatever they need me for. We have the starting lineup already set [in the outfield and first base]."

Adam LaRoche is set at first base with Jayson Werth, Denard Span and Bryce Harper in the outfield, from right to left.

Moore said it was a harder challenge mentally than physically to come off the bench. He is also trying to Williams, after playing for Johnson last season.

"They are both great managers," Moore said. "We are working a little more on fundamentals right now. There are a lot of guys working hard in camp." 

Moore said he was eager to face the Mets -- and not his own pitchers during batting practice. 

"It is always fun to get out there and compete against somebody else," he said.

NOTES: The Nationals will host the Braves March 1 and the Marlins March 2. The March 2 game will be aired on MASN.