The Washington Times - June 24, 2009, 06:28PM

It was a bit odd when the Nats’ lineup was announced for tonight’s game and Adam Dunn was nowhere to be found. Dunn missed only one previous game this year: May 13 at San Francisco. That was the day Ryan Zimmerman’s 30-game hit streak came to an end. Barry Zito was starting for the Giants, and Manny Acta didn’t like the matchup and figured he could give Dunn two days of rest (with an off-day following).

Tonight, though, Dunn is out of the lineup for a different reason. During an at-bat last night, he noticed a strange feeling in his right wrist. Dunn wouldn’t call it severe enough to declare it “pain” but it also was more than simple “discomfort.” He was quick to point out it’s nothing serious and it’s a concern to him, but the Nats did have Dunn visit a hand and wrist specialist earlier today to check him out.

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An MRI taken on Dunn’s wrist showed no damage, and he was cleared to play tonight. Acta figured, especially with lefty Jon Lester on the mound for Boston, he might as well just keep Dunn out of the lineup altogether. That said, he is 100 percent available to come off the bench if needed.

As for the guys who are in the lineup, Willie Harris will be leading off, with Cristian Guzman second and Nick Johnson getting a shot at cleanup duty. The main reason for that: As Acta put it, Zimmerman is the member of his lineup who needs the most protection. That’s why Dunn usually hits behind him. With Dunn out, Johnson becomes the next most potent bat on the roster. His combination of a high average and a high walk total offers the most protection for Zimmerman. So that’s the manager’s thinking.

OK, with that, here are both teams’ lineups…

NATIONALS

CF Willie Harris

SS Cristian Guzman

3B Ryan Zimmerman

1B Nick Johnson

LF Josh Willingham

RF Elijah Dukes

2B Anderson Hernandez

C Wil Nieves

P Craig Stammen

RED SOX

2B Dustin Pedroia

RF J.D. Drew

3B Kevin Youkilis

LF Jason Bay

1B David Ortiz

C Jason Varitek

CF Jacoby Ellsbury

SS Nick Green

P Jon Lester