WASHINGTON -- Manny Acta has announced his starting lineup for Sunday's Opening Day game against the Braves at Nationals Park:
Cristian Guzman, SS
Lastings Milledge, CF
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
Nick Johnson, 1B
Austin Kearns, RF
Paul Lo Duca, C
Elijah Dukes, LF
Ronnie Belliard, 2B
Odalis Perez, P
The most intriguing part about this lineup is where Guzman and Lo Duca are batting. Guzman is replacing Felipe Lopez in the top spot. He has a career .302 on-base percentage, which is low for a leadoff batter, but Acta is hoping that Guzman can once again be the player who had a .380 on-base percentage in limited action last year.
"I don't believe in the past," Acta said. "I would rather go with what he did in 2007. Am I going to sit here and tell you that he is going to have a .380 on-base percentage like he had last year? I don't think he will. Even if he drops 40 points, I'll be happy.
"The thing is, it's not a secret. We don't have a legit leadoff hitter, so we are still searching for it."
Lo Duca is batting after Kearns and before Dukes because Acta wants a contact hitter like Lo Duca to be between two guys who strike out often.
"It helps that Lo Duca is a .288 lifetime hitter," Acta said. "You don't want to have back-to-back strikeout guys, but that could change."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.