Lo Duca and Milledge Are Introduced
Paul Lo Duca and Lastings Milledge were introduced to the D.C. media this afternoon. The fun bits, which apparently seemed fun to me and no one else, will have to wait till later. For now, here are the key points.
* Jim Bowden left no doubt that Lo Duca is the starter from day one, and Manny Acta left open the possibility that Jesus Flores could begin next season in the minors.
Acta: "That's a decision that we haven't made yet. Come spring training, depending on how Jesus comes in and shows his progress, then we'll make a decision whether we're going to keep him with Paul or we're going to send him to the minor leagues to get as many at bats ashit he can. If he shows up to spring training and he convinces us that the best way to go would be to have him here with Paul to learn and continue to develop at the big-league level, we'll do it. If not, we're fine either way."
* Lo Duca said he's hit in every spot in the order, 1-8, in his career, and had no preferences. "As long as I'm in the lineup, I could care less," he said, approximately.
* Bowden on the Lo Duca acquisition: "He's a winner. He's always won. It's what he does....We're opening a new ballpark and it's time to win, and it's time for our young players to develop and it's time for them to know how to play the game....That's what this game is about. It's not about statistics, this isn't fantasy baseball, it's about winning baseball games."
* Acta said he wasn't ready to start making out his lineup card yet, because Bowden might not be done. Acta was extremely enthusiastic, saying "I'm kind of old, but Christmas came earlier than anticipated for me."
"We really didn't want to go into the new ballpark with the same ballclub," he said later. "We're not saying anything bad about it, but we wanted to make some improvement, and we feel like we have, tremendously, over the last couple of weeks...And Jim, he's not done yet. That's why I'm not even thinking about our lineup yet, because I know he's going to keep on working."
* Lo Duca on why he wound up in D.C. instead of Toronto: "The nationals wanted me more. That's the way I looked at it. A big part with me was staying in the National League, being familiar, knowing the National League East and getting to play the Mets 18 times. That had a lot to do with it."
* Lo Duca on whether he would immediately become a clubhouse leader: "That's not my role. This clubhouse belongs to Ryan Zimmerman and Dmitri Young and some of those guys."
* Lo Duca on replacing Brian Schneider: "I've stepped in Mke Piazza's shoes three times. It's a little bit different."
* Lo Duca on Milledge: " really feel you're going to see a superstar in the making. It's just a matter of him keeping his head on straight, and he knows that. He's going to make a lot of money in this game. He's got a ton of talent. He's the kind of kid that can carry a team, he's got that much talent. And he knows that."
* Milledge on choosing No. 44: "I've got to have a little bit of inspiration. I respect the number a lot, the great warriors that wore this number, and I'm not saying that I'm gonna live up to any of the statistics or any thing that those warriors have done, I'm not saying that, but I do respect the number and I feel like it's the number I should wear."
* Milledge on Lo Duca: "Paul's an extreme talent. I saw that last year....I really look up to him, I like his approach. I wish I could strike out as few times as he does and be as tough an out as he can. It really is good to play with him and he wants to win, and that's the biggest thing....
" When I first came up I really didn't talk to anybody, I was kind of scared a little bit to talk to anybody. When I grew up I kind of figured things out by myself with my dad, we kind of figured things out by ourselves. I never ever leaned on anybody for advice. That's why I maybe rubbed guys the wrong way, because I really didn't lean on anybody, but as I got a little more experience and I got more comfortable with the guys, I got more comfortable with Paul, and not only him but everybody else."
* Milledge on the year ahead: "We're gonna go out there, we're gonna bust our tail and we're gonna win."
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