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Manny Acta vs Willie Randolph, Emilio Bonifacio vs Anderson Hernandez, And The Battle Of Peoria In AFL Action.

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Who to believe? Who to believe?

New York Newsday sports writer Ken Davidoff, who was the first to report the possibility of former Mets' Manager Willie Randolph joining the Nationals back on October 15th in an article entitled, "Nats interested in Randolph", followed up on the story, on Friday, with another article entitled, "Source says Willie turned down Nats job", where Mr. Davioff writes that Randolph had indeed spoken:

"...with the Nationals about serving as either bench coach or third-base coach under manager Manny Acta, but he ultimately decided against working under Acta. The two men had a tenuous relationship in 2005 and 2006, when Acta worked as Randolph's third-base coach, because of Acta's strong alliance with Mets general manager Omar Minaya and vice president of player development Tony Bernazard."

The story is a little different in the report by Washington Post writer Chico Harlan on the coaches the Nationals did actually hire entitled, "Nats add Grissom, Listach as coaches", where Mr. Harlan introduces new Bench Coach Jim Riggleman, but also takes a paragraph to explain:

"Washington was adamant about finding a bench coach with major league managing experience, and had looked into the possibility of hiring former Mets manager Willie Randolph. But the team eventually decided that hiring the high-profile Randolph would drum up unfair questions about Acta's authority and job security."

To cloud the issue even further, how about this take on the bad feelings between Acta and Randolph from Chico Harlan's "Nationals Journal" post on June 18, 2008 entitled, "Acta addresses Mets job opening", when Randolph was relieved of his duties with NY and Acta told Mr. Harlan:

"I feel bad for Willie. He's a great guy. I worked for him for two years. He treated me the way I wanted to be treated -- with respect. And he was very good to me. It's unfortunate that it happened, but that's how the game goes."

So it would seem that if there is any animosity between the two it must be from Randolph's side if we're to take Acta at his word...but as both of the most recent articles by Mr. Davidoff and Mr. Harlan explain, Jim Riggleman, the former Seattle bench coach/Interim Manager and Mr. Randolph are still under consideration for the Mariners' Manager job, so anything is possible, though Mr. Davidoff notes that Randolph is due to make $2.25 million off his deal with the Mets' so he'd have to be one high-priced Bench Coach if he did decide to sign somewhere as anything other than a Manager...

Bonifacio vs Hernandez...Prelude To A Spring Battle...

I thought a look at the stats page for the Dominican Winter League's Tigres del Licey might provide a preview of the Spring Training matchup to decide the starting spot at second for the Nationals next season with DC infielders Anderson Hernandez and Emilio Bonifacio both playing for the Tigres, (who are currently fourth out of six with a 3-6 record this "winter"), but then I noticed that both infielders had played nine games...

...with Bonifacio starting at second and batting .273 (9 for 33), with 1 double, 2 triples, 4 RBI's, 10 walks, 14 TB, 3 steals and a .442 OBP...and Hernandez, who's started at short for Licey, batting .400, 16 for 40 in 9 games with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 6 RBI's, 24 TB, 1 BB, 2 SB and a .415 OBP...

Not sure if the fact that Bonifacio's starting at second means anything, but with both hitting and getting on base, and Belliard added into the mix, it's going to be an interesting Spring as far as first base goes, and with Bonifacio leading off and Anderson batting second for the Tigres, Nationals' fans might be getting a glimpse of the future DC infield this winter in the DWL...

AFL UPDATE...

Cory VanAllen saw action in the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Showcase 2008, pitching a scoreless frame for the AFL's American Rising Stars squad and allowing only a two-out single in his inning of work. Ross Detwiler, who was named to the team as a replacement, did not appear in the game, which the National Rising Stars went on to win 7-6 after a 5-run eighth to take the lead, and a run in the bottom of the ninth to break a tie after the American team put together a two-out rally in the top of the frame.

With regular season AFL play resuming today, the Nationals'-prospect-filled Peoria Saguaros beat up on Peoria's second favorite sons, the Javelinas, with the Saguaros' taking a 15-4 decision that saw both Leonard Davis and Bill Rhinehart go deep for each DC prospects' second HR of the Fall. Davis ended the night 1 for 4 with 2 runs scored, 1 HR, 3 RBI's, 1 BB and a .326 AVG. Rhinehart went 2 for 6 with 2 runs scored, 1 2B, 1 HR and 3 RBI's for a .222 AVG overall.

DC infield prospect Ian Desmond, who started at short for the Saguaros, was 0 for 4 with 2 walks, 1 run and a .222 AVG after the game, but no errors today, and he even started a double play. The Saguaros have off until Monday afternoon when they take on the Mesa Solar Sox at 12:35 pm MST, and heading into play, both teams are tied for first in the AFL American division at (11-5).

Coming This Week...Get To Know Your Nationals, A Guide To The New Faces In DC...