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Kasten's Statement of Support, and Talk About Bats

During an afternoon speaking engagement today at the National Press Club, Washington president Stan Kasten gave his firmest-yet support of Manny Acta, expressing hope that he can "serve as long-term manager here."

Acta's job security has swung wildly in the last week, growing tenuous amid news media reports of an impending firing, then strengthening during last week's four-game winning streak. Only today, though, did Kasten elaborate on feelings about the third-year skipper.

"In Manny's case, I happen to be a big fan of his," Kasten said. "I think he has the demeanor to be a long-term solution as a manager. He has the demeanor of a Bobby Cox and others who have been successful. I had this great talk around the batting cage last night with Terry Francona, the young, possibly genius manager of the Boston Red Sox. And I said, 'Terry, I remember when you were a dummy as manager of the Phillies.' And he says, 'Stan, I promise you, I'm still a dummy, I just have better players.' It's so true. And I have always from the beginning supported Manny. I can't predict whether it will work here, but I think he will. I think he's going to serve as a long-term manager here. That's my hope."

Through a team spokesman, Acta declined to comment on Kasten's statement before tonight's game against the Boston Red Sox.

Bats A Topic of Discussion

Elijah Dukes's broken bat single in the Nationals' 6-4 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday highlighted the safety concerns associated with maple bats, which have a tendency to fracture into large shards. Maple bats are three times more likely to shatter than ash bats, according to a study conducted by management and union officials last December.

"I'm not smart enough to figure out what needs to be done," Acta said. "Bats have been breaking for a lot years. Obviously over the last few years, bats have been breaking this way, and it's dangerous."

In the second inning, Dukes, who uses a maple bat, knocked a skipping grounder to shortstop Nick Green. Dukes's bat sheared in two on the hit, creating a large, pointy shard that floated toward the outfield. Green kept his focus on the ball for as long as possible, but needed to fend off the knife-like piece of lumber with his right forearm as it headed his direction. Dukes reached with a single, and the broken bat speared the turf like a javelin.

There have been a number of notable incidents involving broken bats in recent years, including an umpire sustained a concussion when he was hit in the head with a broken bat in April.

Olsen Decision Coming Soon

Although he declined to offer specifics, Acta said a decision would be coming soon regarding the status of pitcher Scott Olsen, who had a solid outing for Class AAA Syracuse on Wednesday.

Olsen allowed two runs and eight hits with five strikeouts over six innings. Olsen is expected to bump one of Washington's young starters from the rotation when he returns from shoulder tendonitis that has kept him on the disabled list since May 18.

Asked whether Olsen needed another rehabilitation start, Acta skirted the question and said, "We're going to make a decision pretty quick."

By Chico Harlan and Mark Viera  |  June 25, 2009; 6:36 PM ET
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Next: Johnson Exits With Shin Contusion


The Nats sure are welcoming John Smoltz back.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 25, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Lets Go Nats!

Posted by: jpt1002 | June 25, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

4-0 Nats in the first! That should quiet some of the pink hats!

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 25, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

masn moment, anyone?

Posted by: surly_w | June 25, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

NJ is out of the game - hope it's not too serious (but it is Nick we're talking about)...

Posted by: BGinVA | June 25, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Please pile it on. Crush them

Posted by: Kev29 | June 25, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

nj out of the game? hope this doesn't affect his trade value.

Posted by: surly_w | June 25, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Johnson hit on the shin.

My prediction, his trade value disappears as he goes on the DL until he is a free agent.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 25, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Every time I hear either Charlie or Dave talking about how all of the games of the series have been sold out, I feel that's exactly what Stan the Plan Man did - sold his team and its fans out.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 25, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

new post.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 25, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Acta asleep at the wheel again tonight. Who, except Acta and the Nat's bench, didn't know that Johnson had a knot the size of a baseball on his leg and would have to come out. So we wind up with Johnson on his bad leg not scoring on Zim's double as well as putting more stress on the injury itself. Nick scored anyway but does Acta just not pay attention or what is it with him? This is right in line with the times he's wound up pinch running for someone after a count has been established on the batter. BTW, Carpenter's harping on Guzman in wearing more than a bit thin. Three thirty hitting shortstops don't grow on trees...

Posted by: truke | June 25, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Firmest support yet?

Translation: Manny's gone by the end of the month.

Posted by: rg019571 | June 25, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Only these days, is two runs and eight hits with five strikeouts over six innings considered a solid outing!

Posted by: Pete433 | June 26, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

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