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Logan finds nook in Washington's outfield

February 01, 2007|by BOB PARASILITI

Nook Logan will be in control of some prime Washington real estate this year.

But he's starting to wonder if he should develop it or field it.

Logan is scheduled to be the starting center fielder for the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium this season.

"RFK outfield ... it's huge," Logan said recently during the Nationals' preseason caravan stop at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center in Hagerstown. "I came from Detroit where the outfield is big, but here ... the gaps are like 410 feet and the center-field fence is 425 feet. The dimensions of the ballpark aren't right."

The expansive area almost makes the George Washington Parkway look like a picnic grounds. But that's why Logan will be an important part of any successes the Nationals have while rebuilding in the 2007 season.

Logan is in the center of the field, along with shortstop Cristian Guzman and second baseman Felipe Lopez. That will make the middle trio the center of attention because defense will be a central plot for the Nationals.

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And that means Logan will be forced to cover a lot of ground, but he's doing it for a good cause.

"It's a great opportunity to get out there and do what I do well," Logan said. "I want to go out there to make a pitcher feel comfortable to throw any pitch he wants to out there."

The Nationals acquired Logan from the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 1, 2005 for a player to be named. After playing a portion of the 2004 season and most of the '05 season for the Tigers, he was relegated to the minors last season until coming to Washington.

He ended up playing 27 games for the Nationals, hitting .300 with one home run and eight RBI. He exhibited speed and a style of play the Nationals liked.

"I want to be known as a guy who can go all out all the time," Logan said. "I want to play aggressively on defense. I'm not afraid to run and I'm not afraid to hit the wall. ... That's why they are padded. I'm not worried about making any mistakes."

Logan said he knows he will get some help in the field because Guzman and Lopez both have good defensive range, giving them the ability to make plays in the short outfield. He will be flanked in the outfield by a healthy Austin Kearns along with Ryan Church and Alex Escobar.

"It's all going to come down to execution and not making mistakes," Logan said. "We are not a team that is going to go out and outslug you. But we will benefit from the pitching if they keep the ball on the ground because we have a great corps of infielders who have a lot of range.

"We just want people to know that when we show up at your park, you aren't going to walk over us for three games. We are going to hold our own and win games."

So maybe an extra-large outfield will actually be what Logan really wants. It will definitely give him room to roam.

"It will give me an opportunity to show what I can do," he said. "I have been and can be a good player in the majors if I'm given the chance. I'll be out there running. ... There are going to be a lot of 400-foot outs."

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