Acta announces starting lineup for Opening Day
About an hour after addressing his team, Nationals manager Manny Acta announced his starting lineup for Opening Day against the Marlins.
1. Lastings Milledge — CF
2. Cristian Guzman — SS
3. Ryan Zimmerman — 3B
4. Adam Dunn — LF
5. Nick Johnson — 1B
6. Austin Kearns — RF
7. Ronnie Belliard — 2B
8. Jesus Flores — C
9. John Lannan — P
Acta continues to believe he has the best team during his three years as skipper of the Nationals. For starters, he has enough depth on the bench if players such as first baseman Nick Johnson and right fielder Austin Kearns get hurt. In that case, Acta can switch Adam Dunn from left field to first and put reserves Josh Willingham and Elijah Dukes in left and right, respectively.
“We have a sense in the last few years that it’s not the team with the highest payroll or the most superstars [that win a championship],” Acta said. “We have very good chemistry going on right now. We, at least, have the depth that gives me the opportunity to have a few unhappy but talented guys on the bench, which I will take any time over a few happy guys with no talent.”
The Nationals will have a tough schedule to start the season. They will play their National League East rivals from April 6-29. Acta acknowledged that the first month of the season will the biggest test for the team.
“Right off the bat, we’ll see where we stand with those guys,” Acta said. “One month is not going to dictate the whole season,” Acta said. “It’s 162 games. But it’s very important because we are playing our division. We are going to see them a lot early. We want to have a better start than we had the last couple of years.”