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First baseman

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The first baseman (abbreviated 1B and position 3 when scoring) is an infielder whose normal defensive position is close to the first base bag. First base is considered to be much less demanding than the other infield positions, and is often, but not always, given to a weak fielder to keep his bat in the lineup.

The first baseman's primary defensive responsibility is to receive throws from the other infielders when they try to retire the batter at first base. The first baseman also fields ground balls that are hit to his position. Because he normally stays close to the first base bag, the first baseman is often able to retire the batter by tagging first base himself. When he is unable to make the play himself, the first baseman's throw is generally a short, underhanded toss to the pitcher. The lack of difficult throws makes first base a good position for fielders who can't throw well. The first baseman is also required to field bunts and to take pick-off throws from the pitcher.

Because he is not required to make many difficult throws to his left, the first baseman is the only infielder who may be a left-handed thrower. Left-handed throwers actually have an advantage playing first base because the only difficult throws that the first baseman usually makes are to third or second base in an attempt to force out a baserunner. Many of the best fielding first baseman have been players like Keith Hernandez who had all the skills needed to be a third baseman but were unable to do so because they threw left-handed.

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