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Desmond off to strong start at plate

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MIAMI -- Ian Desmond established himself as one of the best shortstops in baseball in 2012, batting .292 with 25 homers and an .845 OPS that ranked first among qualifying Major League shortstops, and he hasn't shown any signs of letting up at the plate in the early going this year.

Entering Tuesday night's game, Desmond was batting .320 with two homers and six doubles, tied for the Major League lead. After a 4-for-23 start, Desmond hit .444 (12-for-27) over his next seven games.

Nine of Desmond's 16 hits on the year have gone for extra bases, including the two doubles he raked in Monday night's four-hit performance in Washington's 10-3 win against Miami.

"I felt good. Obviously it's nice to have success, especially after that series we just came from," Desmond said Monday night, referring to the weekend series in which the Braves swept the Nationals.

"Like I said the other day, it's still so early. We obviously know that we have a good offensive team here. We have a great pitching staff. It's just a matter of being more consistent, and that comes with time. You can't expect to be great right off the bat. It takes time to sculpt and build a team. Obviously we've got some new additions, so we've all got to figure each other out, and it's going to take some time. But [Monday] was a great step in the right direction."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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