First base unsettled for Diamondbacks

Apr 5, 2011, 12:35 AM | Updated: 1:59 am

The Diamondbacks attempted to do away with their strikeout problem over the offseason by making significant changes to their corner spots.

The team sent third baseman Mark Reynolds to Baltimore and declined an option on first baseman Adam LaRoche, getting rid of 383 combined strike outs in the process.

However, if the 2011 revolving door at first base is any indication, Arizona may miss LaRoche before they know it.

While going 1-2 in the first three games, the D-backs have started three different players at first.

For perspective, LaRoche played in 151 games last season while contributing 25 home runs and 100 RBI.

In the team’s opener against the Rockies, Juan Miranda started and managed one hit while striking out once in three tries. He was charged with one fielding error and was credited for one double play.

The second game against the Rockies featured Xavier Nady at first. He went 0-for-3 at bat but managed two double plays without committing an error.

Finally, Russell Branyan started at first base Monday against the Cubs, going 2-for-3 at bat with one strikeout and one walk. He managed eight put-outs while on defense.

It is early to judge any of the three, but there is a concern that the position battle should have been settled by now despite no clear front-runner.

Branyan, 35, is more of a power hitter and played well in spring but may be better suited as a back-up over the long haul of the season.

Nady is a savvy veteran but only managed six home runs and 33 RBI last season with the Cubs and is now 32-years-old.

Miranda is the youngest of the three at 27-years-old but is also the least experienced, with only 48 games in the Majors over four seasons.

The team is probably better suited giving Miranda the starting spot during their rebuilding phase. Branyan and Nady might bring short-term success but allowing Miranda to grow with the team is the best option for the future.

The season has just started for the D-backs but continuity at first base is a major concern moving forward.

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