Dukes to sit on opening day

Manger Manny Acta announced his opening day line up for today:

CF Lastings Milledge

SS Cristian Guzman

3B Ryan Zimmerman

LF Adam Dunn

1B Nick Johnson

RF Austin Kearns

2B Ronnie Belliard

C Jesus Flores

P John Lannan

For the most part this is the line up that Nationals fans anticipated after the acquisition of left fielder/first basemen Adam Dunn in the late offseason.  The one major surprise of course is the absence of young right fielder of the future Elijah Dukes and the presence of the should-be right fielder of the past, Austin Kearns.

It was assumed by many that after Duke’s impressive performance in the second half of 2008 he would be a guarantee to be an everyday starter for the club in 2009. The right fielder had an OPS of .972 in the second half of the season last year while showing good plate patience and athletic ability in the field.

Austin Kearns on the other hand performed absolutely terribly in 2008 by putting up a line of .217/.311/.316. To put it simply baseball players can’t really do much worse than Kearns did in 2008. However as the Nats owed him a large deal of money, he was of course welcomed back to camp and given an opportunity to compete for a job in Florida. Kearns excelled, leading us to the position we are in today.