XM Interview With Washington Nationals' Manager Manny Acta.

(ed. note - "I'm just transcribing my scribbled notes from XM's interview with Nationals' Manager Manny Acta, but I figured that anybody who actually stopped at federalbaseball.com on a Saturday night should get a reward/preview of the interview which I'll include in the next post, enjoy...")

Manny Acta Likes Chocolate Milk On His Cereal...And He Has A Security Blanket...

(ed. note - "This interview snuck up on me a few minutes after I turned on my XM radio, so what follows are the notes I was able to take, and thus paraphrased responses instead of direct quotes, you'll just have to take for granted that I have no axe to grind with Manny Acta...")

XM's MLB Live Weekend host Casey Stern had DC Manager Manny Acta on his radio show this afternoon for a quick chat about the state of the nation's capitals favorite baseball team, who start Spring Training today with the arrival of pitchers and catchers at Space Coast Stadium in sunny Viera, Florida. 

Q: How has the offseason been, with DC active this winter?

Manny Acta - Very active offseason coming off '08, new staff for Acta, team active in free agency, the Nationals have made changes to make the franchise better...

Dunn? Significance of addition?

Manny Acta - Very significant, Dunn is only legit power threat with a track record as a hitter, guaranteed 35-40 HR's, 100 RBI, 100 BB, leadership, should really help team in the long run...

What position will Dunn play?

Manny Acta - Dunn will play left and first, the Nationals still have Nick Johnson, (Acta says Dunn has been great about where he'll play), at end of camp, they'll take a look, see if Nick Johnson's healthy...make decisions...

The OF? All those outfielders?

Manny Acta - Always good to have options, didn't last year, can never have enough...Acta's happy to have all the options...

Progress of Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, Ryan Zimmerman?

Manny Acta - Zimmerman's done all that he's been asked to do...Most guys his age are in Double-A...Milledge did exactly what we expected in his first full season, hit around .270, 15 HR and 70 RBI's, (actual #'s- .268, 14 HR, 61 RBI, but close off the top of your head, Mr. Acta!), Milledge responded well, led team in HR's, RBI's, (tied with Zim, 14 HR's)...Elijah Dukes, on field probably one of the best players on the team, DL stints hurt...Made progress off field, Dukes with Dunn, Johnson, Zimmerman, Guzman etc, could be impressive...

Anderson Hernandez? Difference between Winter Ball and MLB levels of success?

Manny Acta - Acta thinks he saw enough of Anderson Hernandez last year to consider him the starter heading into Spring Training...it's time for Hernandez to get a chance to be an everyday player, injury cost him job in NY (when Acta and Anderson were with Mets), when Jose Valentin made most of chance...Acta thinks Hernandez could be long-term solution at second, and there's always Ronnie Belliard, (referred to by Acta as his "security blanket")...

Nationals' starting rotation? Olsen and Cabrera?

Manny Acta - John Lannan, Scott Olsen, Daniel Cabrera, 3 guys set in rotation...change of scenery will help Cabrera, getting out of the AL East, no DH, etc., Cabrera's only 27 and healthy(ed. note - "Uh..."), Olsen? Acta will take a guy like him any day, matured, good for 200 IP, got good feedback, Olsen's only 24, left-handed...

How about the bullpen with Cordero gone?

Manny Acta - Bullpen will be one of the biggest challenges. With Rauch, Ayala, Cordero etc. gone will have to restart...Acta likes (Joel) Hanrahan, (Mike) Hinckley, (Steven) Shell, (Garrett) Mock, all young, brought veterans to camp to challenge them, Nationals were spoiled by bullpen in past, so it will be a challenge...

Is Acta a chocolate lover? (Valentine-themed ? get it?)

Manny Acta - Loves chocolate, yes it's true that he uses chocolate milk on his cereal, just likes chocolate, sweet things, but doesn't like Valentine's Day...says he tells women in his life he loves them everyday...


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