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Fielding has improved for Brewers

Fielding has improved for Brewers

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WASHINGTON -- Defensive mistakes seemed to flare up at inopportune times for the Brewers this past weekend in Washington, but on the whole, manager Ned Yost said he feels the team is better off this season than in the past.

"I think we're a much better defensive team than we were at the end of last year," Yost said.

The skipper specifically cited a few players, including Ryan Braun, who was moved to left field before the start of this season.

Braun has performed admirably in the role, as his 1.000 fielding percentage attests to. The numbers hold up for the rest of the team as well, as every player is at .975 or better, with the exception of third baseman Bill Hall.

"I think we've always emphasized fielding in practice," Yost said. "But we're better than we were last year."

Prince Fielder also has improved his play at first base, including a lunging snag to record an out during Sunday's game.

Catcher Jason Kendall also provides a boost for the team behind the plate, a critical spot given the team's recent addition of young Minor League pitchers.

"His focus is on his catching," Yost said. "His focus when he gets here every single day is on that start."

The fielders have had to do a significant amount of adjusting during the last 10 days -- first with the unique Fenway Park in Boston, and now ending the trip in new Nationals Park.

Yost said he thought it was too early to tell how he thought the new ballpark will play.

"I think you have to go a full year or two to understand that," he said, citing the fact that Turner Field in Atlanta initially played as a pitcher's park before a sudden increase in home runs during the park's third season.

Brewers fielders will feel at home soon, though. The team returns to Miller Park for a nine-game homestand, starting on Tuesday.

Michael Phillips is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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