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At the request of his friend, Nationals bench coach John McLaren, Larry Bowa — a former major league shortstop, coach and manager — is helping Nats shortstop Ian Desmond with his defense.Desmond has a tendency to wait on grounders and rely too much on his arm. Bowa suggested a drill in which a coach rolls balls slowly to Desmond, forcing him to charge. He also has spoken with Desmond on the phone.“Guys have such great arms, they lay back on balls — and this guy has a cannon,” says Bowa, who is now an analyst for MLB Network. “He catches ’em flat-footed. He catches ’em deep. He doesn’t understand the mechanics of coming and getting the ball.“I told him, ‘As athletic as you are, you can’t think you’re going to make every play. If you backhand a ball in the hole and the guy runs less than 4.0 (seconds) to first, eat it. A double-play situation when the ball is not hit hard, just get one.’”Desmond, 25, led all major league shortstops with 34 errors last season, and his eight errors this season tie him for the lead with the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus and Cardinals’ Ryan Theriot.“His mentality is that he wants to turn every double play,” Bowa says. “That’s how you get a lot of errors. I’m not saying he’s not thinking. He’s just being too aggressive on every play.“He’s a good kid. He’s going to be a good shortstop.”
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