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His swing ‘will play’

But nobody, from Knorr to Dickenson to the Nationals’ front office, is trying to fix Marrero. He’s not off course. He’s not a project. He’s just 19.

Still, he has one thing most players his age never have: a swing that needs only minor refinements to be major league-ready.

The right-handed Marrero has enough natural power to hit homers without trying to pull the ball and was already comfortable driving the ball to the opposite field when he came to the Nationals.

Dickenson is working with Marrero to involve his legs more in his swing and get less of his power from trying to force his hands inside the ball. But even with a few things to work on, the foundation is there.

“It’s a swing that will play in the big leagues,” Dickenson said.

When that will happen, however, is still unclear. Marrero admits he can get caught up in worrying about how fast he’s moving up rather than trying to get himself ready for the majors. His current goal is to be at Class AA by the end of this season and see where the 2009 campaign takes him.

By then he hopes he will have absorbed one of the toughest lessons the game can dish out: how to struggle.

And he still will be only 20.

“I sometimes think about ‘Man, these guys have all these future [expectations] ahead of me, and I’m not proving it,’ ” Marrero said. “You’ve just got to realize they have confidence in you. Even if you’re not going to hit, they know you can hit. Just have confidence and play your game. Playing baseball is supposed to be fun.”