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Arenado readies for new first baseman

Desmond and McMahon will likely man the position to open camp
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There is another side to Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado's highlights. The daring dives and contortions allow him to glove the ball, but those plays end in throws -- mostly to first base. And someone has to catch them.

Arenado has a Rawlings Gold Glove Award for each of his five seasons in the Majors. But his first basemen have been Todd Helton -- a decorated fielder himself -- and Justin Morneau and Mark Reynolds, two savvy players. Unless the Rockies sign someone such as Reynolds, who is a free agent, Arenado likely will be throwing to Ian Desmond and Ryan McMahon, both of whom have moved from other positions and have limited experience at first base.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There is another side to Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado's highlights. The daring dives and contortions allow him to glove the ball, but those plays end in throws -- mostly to first base. And someone has to catch them.

Arenado has a Rawlings Gold Glove Award for each of his five seasons in the Majors. But his first basemen have been Todd Helton -- a decorated fielder himself -- and Justin Morneau and Mark Reynolds, two savvy players. Unless the Rockies sign someone such as Reynolds, who is a free agent, Arenado likely will be throwing to Ian Desmond and Ryan McMahon, both of whom have moved from other positions and have limited experience at first base.

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Arenado acknowledged he worried some over the winter, but he arrived at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Friday with a trusting spirit.

"This offseason, I was kind of worried about that because I love Mark -- I had him for two years, and the longest I had a first baseman was Mark," Arenado said. "He scooped everything. But I thought about it more once I got here, or when I was on my way here, and I was like, 'I've gotta hit him in the chest either way, no matter who it is.'

"I've got to make good throws, and hopefully they get better and make some scoops."

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Arenado also is willing to help with the learning curve.

"I'll talk to them, tell them what I've seen from Mark," Arenado said. "I've had the best view at Mark and Morneau and Todd and watching them from the other side, seeing how they react to certain balls. But I can make it easier on them. Don't make them jump. Don't throw balls up the line.

"If anything, make them scoop it. Those are little things I have to be aware of, maybe, and that's OK. But when the game starts, I'm going to let my instincts take over."

Like most everyone else watching the Rockies, Arenado will keep an eye on whether manager Bud Black drops leadoff man Charlie Blackmon in the order. The logical place is third, between No. 2 hitter DJ LeMahieu and Arenado. Black will experiment with Blackmon out of the leadoff position during Cactus League play.

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"I understand it, but the thing is I'm a position player, I'm a baseball player," Arenado said. "I'm a big believer that if it ain't broke, you don't fix it. As hitters, if something's working, you don't change it. But I can see why. I'm also not a GM. I'm not a manager. I understand they see things I don't see. They have all the numbers."

A key point, Arenado said, would be for whoever becomes leadoff man to not be expected to be Blackmon, who not only led the National League in hitting at .319, but hit 37 home runs and set a Major League record with 103 of his 104 RBIs from the leadoff spot.

"What Charlie did last year and the last few years is pretty special, so we can't go in there thinking that these young guys are going to do exactly what Charlie did out of the leadoff spot," Arenado said. "And that's OK. We don't need them to do that. We just need them to have quality at-bats, get on base, steal some bases and help get me, Charlie and DJ up with some runners in scoring position."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Nolan Arenado