Morgan takes bunting lessons from Cora

Morgan takes bunting lessons from Cora

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals were doing bunting drills Thursday and the most interesting scene was watching center fielder Nyjer Morgan taking lessons from infielder Alex Cora, who told Morgan not to try to surprise the opponent with a bunt. The most important part is putting the ball in the right place for a hit.

"Everybody knows Nyjer is going to bunt. For him, I think placement is very important, [more] than hiding the bunt," Cora said.

Cora learned the art of bunting when he was with the Dodgers. He said he became an experienced bunter by listening to Dodgers Spring Training instructor Maury Wills.

"I came up through the Dodger organization, and we had the best teacher of them all," Cora said. "You can use Maury's knowledge and spread it around. For Nyjer, it will benefit him. I've seen him play the last two years in the National League. I played against him, and I can see his strengths and his weaknesses. I'm here. That's what you do as a teammate."

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How did Morgan feel about getting bunting tips on Thursday? Morgan wishes he had Cora as a coach earlier in his career.

"Cora has been in the game a long time," Morgan said. "He understands what it takes to be a successful bunter. By listening to him, I understand what Maury Wills taught him. Alex passed it on to me a little bit. I'm glad Alex has that background to help out my game."

Morgan is hoping the tips from Cora can help him get on base often. Last year, Morgan had hit .253 and had an on-base percentage of .319.