Inbox: What's Acta's future with Nats?

Inbox: What's Acta's future with Nats?

Who will start in the outfield for the Nationals? Does manager Manny Acta have a future in Washington? Those are two of the many questions Nats fans want to know during Spring Training. Here are answers to some of those questions.

Do you think Acta should be the Nationals' manager in 2010?
-- Sanjay H., Alexandria, Va.

There is no question that Acta should be the Nationals' manager in 2010. He has a brilliant mind, and I would like to see him have the horses to win a lot ballgames. So far, that hasn't been the case since he joined the team in late 2006. Will it happen this year? It's too early to tell. Ask me again in a couple of weeks.

Who is your starting outfield?
-- Byron G., Upper Marlboro, Md.

In a perfect world, my outfield would be Adam Dunn in left, Lastings Milledge in center and Elijah Dukes in right. But, because of Dukes' off-the-field problems, I believe you have to keep Austin Kearns, who could finally reach his potential if he stays healthy, as insurance.

I am befuddled by your comment that Milledge is too "valuable" to trade. Maybe my memory is escaping me, but I remember the few key hits and numerous defensive/mental errors associated with his play. Why is he too valuable to trade?
-- Bob M., Alexandria, Va.

The Nationals see him as a long-term fixture and they haven't forgotten that Milledge performed well with the bat during the second half of the season.

I never hear anything about Ronnie Belliard. What's going to happen with him this year? He had a pretty good year last year, but he doesn't seem to get much credit.
-- Bill V., Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

Belliard is around and he is looking good. He lost weight and is a candidate to start at second base. If he doesn't start, Belliard will be the backup at first, second, third base and shortstop.

Have a question about the Nationals?
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Question:

I've heard that both Anderson Hernandez and Cristian Guzman could be candidates for the leadoff role. What about Milledge? He has speed and power.
-- William B., Silver Spring, Md.

I don't see Milledge as the leadoff hitter. I see him batting second if Guzman is leading off, or fifth in the order if Acta decides to make Hernandez hit leadoff and Guzman second in the order.

What's Matt Chico's status? He was pretty good two seasons ago and now you never hear about him.
-- Richard G., Syracuse, N.Y.

Chico is slowly recovering from left elbow surgery and is not expected to compete in a Minor League game until mid-summer. I don't see him in the Major Leagues until 2010 at the earliest.

I've been an Expos/Nationals fan since the beginning. I was wondering why Andre Dawson is not in the Hall of Fame. He was one of the best players in the National League during the 1980s.
-- Dennis D., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

I have no idea why he is not in the Hall of Fame. It's baffling to me, too. I don't know what games these baseball writers were watching. Dawson was a complete player and could do it all -- offensively and defensively.

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