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04/22/08 8:30 PM ET

Pena emotional over rough start

Nats outfielder seen crying in clubhouse after Monday's game

ATLANTA -- Nationals left fielder Wily Mo Pena was given Tuesday night off after going 3-for-30 in his first eight games of the season. Manager Manny Acta felt Pena needed a day off to work on his offense with hitting coach Lenny Harris.

After going 0-for-4 against the Braves on Monday, Pena was crying in the clubhouse. Acta told Pena it was too early to start worrying about his hitting.

Pena started the season on the disabled list because of a strained left oblique. After playing in extended Spring Training games, Pena played in only one rehab game and was reinstated on April 13.

"I told him it was OK. It's early," Acta said. "He is going to be back to his old self. It's only a game. There are more important things in life. It's a baseball game. I want to win and we are concerned about [losing]. At least [Pena] showed some compassion for it."

Pena was not available for comment.

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