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09/25/08 8:11 PM ET

Kearns looks ahead to fresh start in '09

Oft-injured outfielder hopeful for bounce back next season

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right fielder Austin Kearns said on Thursday that it bothers him that he had to miss a huge chunk of the 2008 season because of bone spurs in his right elbow and a stress fracture in his left foot, and he vows that next year will be a different story.

But first, Kearns still has to take care of the foot, which he still has to protect in a special boot until the pain goes away.

"Hopefully, that will not take too long. After that, I will start working out and get into some baseball stuff later on," Kearns said. "I think I can do a lot better. Hopefully, I will stay healthy and put together a full season. Let's see what happens."

Kearns hit .217 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs this season. Many in the Nationals organization believes his lack of production was caused by his injuries.

"I don't know if the injuries were the reasons [I didn't hit]," Kearns said. "I felt I was healthy enough to go out there and help out and be successful. They probably didn't help at all. I was trying to work on stuff and it was just tough."

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