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Washington Nationals: Spring Training Day Two, Ryan Zimmerman Speaks.

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The Nats' Face of the Franchise, Ryan Zimmerman, the Washington Nationals' first 1st Round pick, was open about his desire to see the Nats' big middle-of-the-order bat Adam Dunn return to the nation's capital in 2011. After Dunn launched a fastball from the Phillies' Jose Contreras to right for a walk-off HR (his 38th HR of 2010 and last as a Nat) in the next-to-last home game of the season, the Nationals' third baseman publically addressed the situation, telling Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Adam Dunn's homer sends Nationals past Phillies", about how he'd like to see the big slugger return to launch HR's out of Nats Park:

""I think we've all said enough,' Zimmerman said, before saying some more. 'If they don't sign him, they better find someone good to replace him. I think all of us think that. I think, more important, all the fans think that.'"

At the Nationals' jersey unveiling in November, Zimmerman spoke to the D.C. press corps, as recorded by MASNSports.com's Pete Kerzel in an article entitlted, "Zimmerman: Nationals can't afford not to re-sign Dunn", which quoted the 26-year-old, six-year veteran saying, "if you take [Dunn] out of the middle of the lineup, it's going to be hard to replace him. It's going to do a lot (of harm) to our team." 

When Dunn's decision to sign a 4-year/$56 million dollar deal with the Chicago White Sox first broke, and before it was made official, Zimmerman told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, in another article entitled, "Adam Dunn agrees to four-year contract with White Sox", that it was an unfortunate development for the Nats and the middle of their order, "'I'd be disappointed for me,'" Zimmerman said, but, "'I'm very happy for him. Obviously, if he's going to go there, he's going to get a four-year deal, and that's what he deserves."

Those were the quotes that made headlines at least. At the end of the Washington Post writer's early December article, Mr. Kilgore wrote clearly that the Nats' Face of the Franchise, "...did not lash out at the team's inability to resign Dunn," though he was described as being frustrated. "'To me, this is the place where I want to be, where I want to be for the rest of my career,'" Zimmerman was quoted saying, "'The only reason I wouldn't want to play here is if I thought we didn't have a chance to win. ... I still believe that we will.'"

In his first public comments of the Spring yesterday, Zimmerman apparently felt the need to reiterate the fact that he hadn't been criticizing the Nats' front office. "'I never said I wasn't happy with the team,'" Zimmerman's quoted saying in MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article on the interview with reporters at the Nationals' spring facilities entitled, "Zimmerman not upset with Nats over Dunn":

"'You have friends, you have teammates you enjoy playing with. It happens everywhere. I was not by any means saying anything about the organization. I think a lot of people thought I was.'"

Zimmerman went on to say that he was aware of the Nationals' plans to build the team through pitching and defense and though Stephen Strasburg's injury definitely set things back on the pitching end, the Nats' infielder thinks that Washington improved the team defensively. Though Zimmerman was just expressing his own frustration this winter, he was also fairly accurately expressing the sentiments of a fanbase that's been repeatedly asked to wait just a little longer for the Nats' brass to build a winner in Washington, and he continued to do so in a recent edition of MLB.com's Bill Ladson's, "Inbox: Extension for Zimmerman?", when a fan asked Mr. Ladson when the Nats' were going to give Zimmerman the sort of extension other young players around the majors have signed recently to keep the Face of the Franchise in D.C. beyond 2013 when his current deal expires: 

"'Within a short time span, [I want to be] very competitive and have a chance to really win every year. I mean it when I say it. If we can do those things -- compete, get better and get to that championship level -- I have no problem staying here the next 10, 15, how many years that I play.'"

Though he felt the need to clarify some of what he said, the Face of the Nats' franchise seems to have found his voice. And it just happens to be expressing the thoughts of the majority of Nationals fans who just want the team to finally be competitive.