WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, the Nationals declined a $5 million club option on outfielder Wily Mo Pena, who subsequently exercised a $2 million player option for the 2009 season.
The team was expecting big things out of Pena this past season, but he ended up playing in only 64 games because of left rotator cuff surgery. Before he went on the disabled list, it appeared that Pena was hurting because his swing was different than the previous season. He was often swinging with one hand. Pena ended up hitting .205 with two home runs and 10 RBIs.
How Pena fits in the Nationals' plans in 2009 remains to be seen because Lastings Milledge is expected to play left field, while Elijah Dukes will play everyday either center or right field. Austin Kearns is also ahead of Pena on the depth chart.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.