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Pena determined to end early slump

Pena determined to end early slump

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WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Wily Mo Pena acknowledged on Wednesday that he had tears in his eyes after going 0-for-4 against the Braves on Monday.

"This is the only thing that I do," Pena said. "[Baseball] is my passion, so I want to do well for the team."

But Pena pulled himself together to try to figure out why he's 3-for-30 (.100) entering Wednesday's action against the Mets. Pena and Nats hitting coach Lenny Harris looked at tapes of Pena from last season and this year. Harris noticed that Pena's left leg was too high as the pitch was coming toward the plate.

Last season, when Pena hit .293 in 37 games with Washington, Pena didn't have a high leg kick. He had a smooth stride, and he was able to hit breaking balls, which pitchers threw at him on a regular basis.

Manager Manny Acta sat Pena down against Braves right-hander John Smoltz on Tuesday, but Pena was back in the lineup against Mets left-hander Johan Santana on Wednesday and picked up an infield single in the second inning.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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