Manny Acta happy for the Nationals, and for himself
Manny Acta stood behind the batting cage, smiling like he did so often as the Washington Nationals manager from 2007 to the middle of last season, when he was fired with a 26-61 record. He hugged Jim Riggleman, the man who replaced him. He embraced player after player from the other dugout who approach him.
Without Acta, the Nationals have reached their highest point as a franchise since the first half of their first season. Acta is 23-36 with his new team, the Cleveland Indians. Like his entire tenure with the Nationals, the future has more promise than the present. But Acta avoids considering on what could have been in Washington, dwelling on the idea of being the manager in charge of Stephen Strasburg and a suddenly limitless future.
"I went through my path of life," Acta said. "That's what it's all about. Life is great. I'm enjoying it. I live in a nice part of town here. I enjoy the people that I work for. I think it is a little bit more advanced than when I started in D.C. It's a lot easier. It's fun.
"I'm proud of what I accomplished over there. I did my best every day. Never embarrassed the organization, the fans or my family, on or off the field. I never complained. That's all I could do. Sometimes, good things fall apart so better things come around. I'm very happy.
"I'm very happy for what's going over there, because those fans deserve that. And I'm very happy for Jim, too, because he's a guy that I admire."
Acta has not changed his demeanor or many aspects of his calm approach. In Cleveland, though, he has shifted the way he handles a bullpen. He feels in 2008, he burned out Jon Rauch and Saul Rivera by pitching them too often while behind in the game, a concept on which the front office in Cleveland has educated him.
"I learned a few things here just about leverage in the bullpen," Acta said. "There were so many games over there, just trying to keep the game close, I would probably bring guys like Saul and Rauch and pile up some innings on them. I just wanted to keep the game close. That really doesn't work. Out here in this organization, through our analytical department, I learned that those are not high-leverage situations. Just trying to keep the game close, Saul and Rauch got some innings that they shouldn't even had. I learned that over here. That's a mistake I won't make again."
June 11, 2010; 6:59 PM ET
Categories: Jim Riggleman , bullpen | Tags: Jim Riggleman, Manny Acta
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