The well-rested Alexandria Dukes return to town today with an 0-1 record against Carolina League opposition and an 0.3 mark against the elements after three consecutive rainouts in Salem, Va.

Barring heavy rainfall today, the club expects not only to play its home opener tonight against the Lynchburg Mets at 7:30 p.m. but hopes to draw near the 2,016 capacity of Four Mile Run Park.

I hope to sell it out, "General Manager Rick Holt said yesterday. "The weather will obviously have a lot to do with it, but if the weather breaks and we get a little sunshine, we should get a good crowd. There's a little standing water now, but it will definitely be playable unless we get a lot more rain."

The three cancellations were probably a blessing for the Dukes who did not name their manager, Mike Toomey, until April 7, did not bein assembling their players until April 8, and did not have a workout until Thursday.

Friday, the Dukes with late arrivals to the present 19-man roster barely making game time, dropped a 10-2 decision to the Salem Pirates.

The Dukes no longer affiliated with the Mariners, will serve as a co-op this season, with eight players from the New York Yankees, four from the Baltimore Orioles, and two apiece from Seattle, the Texas Rangers and New York Mets.

The Dukes will sport a local flavor with pitchers Pete Hamner and Mark Smith (formerly of American University), and catcher Jerry Neufang, hailing from Northern Virginia, and pitcher Paul Rudiman and player-coach Elwood Holland from Silver Spring. Tooney lives in Hyattville.