VIERA, Fla. -- When he signed with the Nationals last week, outfielder/first baseman Adam Dunn was given uniform No. 32. For most of his career, he's worn No. 44.

On Thursday, center fielder Lastings Milledge decided to give up No. 44 and hand it over to Dunn. Milledge will now wear No. 85. Milledge picked that number because he was born in 1985.

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"There were no negotiations. He basically gave it to me," Dunn said. "He didn't have to do that. It didn't matter to me. It's very cool. I appreciate it."

Milledge said he gave the number to Dunn because the veteran slugger has 278 home runs during his career.

"Whatever he needs to perform. It's just the right thing to do," Milledge said. "He has [233] home runs the last six years. How can I wear No. 44 and let him wear another number? No way. It's the proper thing to do. It happens all the time. If Barry Bonds came in and I wore 25, I would have to give it up."

Milledge is the second member of the Nationals to give up a uniform number this year. Right-hander Collin Balester gave up No. 49 to righty Daniel Cabrera. Balester is now wearing No. 40.