Results tagged ‘ Jim Riggleman ’

Riggleman, Rizzo confirm meeting with Guzman

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and interim manager Jim Riggleman said that Cristian Guzman is their shortstop for 2009, but have not ruled out switching him to second base for next season.

It was revealed by MLB.com on Thursday that Rizzo and Riggleman had a private meeting with Guzman and asked him to switch to second base for the 2010 season.

Guzman, who did not give Rizzo and Riggleman an answer, was in shock and told them he never played second base in his life. The only other position Guzman has played other than shortstop was in the 2008 All-Star Game when he played third base for the National League team.

“We talked with Guzman about that and what I foresee happening and what Mike Rizzo foresees happening is that some move will probably be made for the good of the ballclub,” Riggleman said. “We came in last place. We’ve had a struggling year. We can’t just say, we’re in good shape, let’s go get ‘em

“We’ve got to try to improve and one of the things we’ve identified is that we need one more middle infielder. … If that middle infielder is a second baseman, then Guzman is a shortstop. If that middle infielder is a shortstop, then we need to see if we can make Guzman a second baseman because that’s a pretty good bat. We’ve got to keep our options open.”

Rizzo, who feels Guzman could prolong his career if he moves to second base, is looking for a defensive-oriented middle infielder.

“I’m looking more toward a really good defensive-oriented middle infielder because it helps our pitching staff,” Rizzo said. “I’m not going to rule out an offensive second baseman or shortstop because we don’t want to close any doors but what [are] looking for is a defensive guy, so we’re much stronger up the middle.”

Washington has been concerned about Guzman’s defense almost all season. They have been alarmed that Guzman is having problems going to his left on groundballs.

David Villavicencio contributed to this report.

Nats ask Guzman to play second base in 2010

The Nationals may not be looking to sign a free agent like second baseman Orlando Hudson this offseason.

It was learned that general manager Mike Rizzo and interim manager Jim Riggleman had a private meeting with shortstop Cristian Guzman on Thursday afternoon and asked him to switch to second base for the 2010 season.

Guzman, who did not give Rizzo and Riggleman an answer, was in shock and told them he never played second base in his life. The only other position Guzman has played other than shortstop was in the 2008 All-Star Game when he played third base for the National League team.

If Guzman agrees to the switch, that means the Nationals most likely will look for a shortstop during the offseason.

Will Ian Desmond get that chance to become the everyday shortstop? It’s hard to tell, but he got off to a quick start on Thursday night by going 2-for-4 and driving in four runs in his Major League debut against the Phillies.

Washington has been concerned about Guzman’s defense almost all season. They have been alarmed that Guzman is having problems going to his left on groundballs.

In the past, Riggleman believed that a foot injury has hampered Guzman’s ability to go to his left, but no one knows how Riggleman feels now because he was not available for comment.

Both Rizzo and Guzman declined to talk about the possible move to second.  

What happens to Riggleman?

Now that Mike Rizzo has been named the general manager, the Nationals must decide who becomes the manager on a permanent basis.

Interim manager Jim Riggleman has done a good job since taking over the club after the All-Star break, going 17-16 entering Thursday’s action against the Rockies.

But the Nationals will go through a mangerial search during the offseason and then decide who will manage the club.

“I certainly like what Jim has done. I’m the one who made him the interim manager. It was my decision,”  Rizzo said. “He is an old-school baseball guy with a lot of new ideas. He is certainly going to be a candidate for the permanent managerial job, but that’s a discussion we are going to have after the season is over and throughout the winter. There is going to be a process.”               

Baseball ethics: The Jim Riggleman way

On Saturday, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen played a great game, hitting three home runs and driving in six runs.

After the game, I asked Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman the following question: Were there any thoughts of backing McCutchen off the plate?

Here is the great answer Riggleman gave to me and the rest of the Washington media:

“That’s a touchy area. You don’t like to see a guy up there swinging freely. I’ve always been of the opinion that there are no free shots [at the hitter]. The damage is already done. You decide to hit somebody, it’s not like it goes unnoticed. [Ryan] Zimmerman or [Adam] Dunn is going to take one off the head, back or wrist.

“I’ve been accused of being a little soft on the issue. I’ll tell you, … I don’t think we can afford to have Zimmerman or Dunn get one off the wrist if we hit somebody. …

“I go back to my days with Sammy Sosa. In 1998, he hit 66 home runs. Our team gave up a lot of home runs. I was told to knock somebody down. Sammy doesn’t hit 66 home runs if we are out drilling people.

“The solution is to throw better pitches. You pitch better, you don’t get into the situation. As my mentor George Kissell said, ‘[Hitting a batter] went out with World War II.’ … It doesn’t operate that way anymore.” 
                        

Riggleman doesn't think major trades are coming

The Nationals have been on a roll under interim manager Jim Riggleman, winning six out of their last eight games entering Wednesday’s action.

Asked how much he would hate to see some of the players dealt before Friday’s trade deadline after a good run, Riggleman said, “Personally, I don’t think we are going to lose them, I really don’t. We have seen some trades made in the last few days that would probably lower the chances of our guys getting traded. … I don’t anticipate losing our guys.”

Nationals players such as Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson and Josh Willingham have been mentioned in trade talks. They are only going to be dealt if the Nationals get top prospects for them. 

Riggleman holds postgame meeting on daily basis

Since becoming interim manager of the Nationals, Jim Riggleman has a held a team meeting after every game. The sessions last no more than a few minutes.

He usually tells his players what went right or wrong during the game. His most famous meeting came on Friday after a 6-2 loss to the Padres at Nationals Park. He told his players that night they didn’t give 100 percent effort. It didn’t help that Washington made four errors and committed a passed ball in the game.

“Generally, throughout the time that I’ve managed,  I always felt like if we lost a ballgame, I wanted to make sure that I was visible in the clubhouse, just showing them that we lost that game  — I lost it, we lost it,” Riggleman said. “When we win a game, I don’t spend too much time in there, just touch on a couple of things, maybe point out some details of the game that we did that may have gone unnoticed.”

Outfielder Josh Willingham dominated Monday’s game by hitting two grand slams. After the game, Riggleman pointed out to the players that outfielder Adam Dunn made two great plays in left field and advanced to second on a wild pitch.

“If you are having a year like we are having, you just have to keep giving it to them that we are not quitting,” Riggleman said. “We are going to keep getting after it. If you keep getting after it, they are going to feel that way, too.”    

Riggleman said he would not hold meetings on an everyday basis if the team was doing well. 

Riggleman using closer-by-committee

Before Jim Riggleman took over as interim manager of the Nationals, right-hander Mike MacDougal was the closer.

Now, however, Riggleman is looking at a closer-by-committee with MacDougal and Joe Beimel pitching in the late innings. Riggleman hasn’t ruled out putting Sean Burnett in the late innings against quality left-handed hitters.

“I don’t think we really have a situation where we anoint someone as the closer,” Riggleman said. “There have been various people who have been successful in certain innings. But we are going to try to get outs.”          
           

Zimmerman trying to improve throwing

Around 3:00 p.m. ET, on Friday, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman was seen working hard with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on his throwing motion.

Zimmerman was seen throwing the baseball overhand instead of his usual sidearm delivery, which has caused him to make costly errors. The session lasted about 15 minutes.  

“We want to maximize everything Ryan can do,” Riggleman said. “His range is probably better than anybody I’ve ever seen over at third base. … He goes and gets so many balls to his left and by the mound, but somewhere in there, he lost his feel for his arm slot on the basic play.

“The ball is not coming out of his hand as good as he knows it can and we know it can. We talked about it. We are going to get back to the basics, get his arm up and let it fly.”

Thursday was an example of how things have been going for Zimmerman with the glove. Leading off the top of the third inning, Cubs catcher Koyie Hill hit a routine ground ball to  Zimmerman, who threw away the ball for a two-base error. Zimmerman threw the ball sidearm, but had problems gripping the ball.

“I want to stop [making errors] because it’s hurting the team. I don’t like the way it happens,” Zimmerman said.

Nationals send letter to fans

TO:  Fans of the Washington Nationals

No one is more dissatisfied in the first half of the 2009 Washington Nationals season than we are.  Like you, we had hoped that some of our younger players would have matured faster and that the addition of some of our new veterans would have significantly improved our record from a season ago.  Our hope was that a solid club leadership would emerge on and off the field and that some intangible combinations would begin to click resulting in many winning streaks.

We definitely do see significant pieces materializing for the future, and there have been many close, exciting games and optimistic bright spots: Strong outings by John Lannan, the home run and RBI production of Adam Dunn, the All-Star selection and 30 game hitting streak of Ryan Zimmerman, and the recent addition of speedster Nyjer Morgan.  Much of the season, however, has been defined by weak relief pitching, poor defense, and youthful inconsistency.  We have tried to work through this period with patience and focus but now we are faced with mounting losses which are beginning to take a toll on our entire roster.  Clearly, some changes are required as we prepare for the second half of the 2009 season and, more importantly, build for a competitive future.

Today, we announced that manager Manny Acta is being replaced on an interim basis by Jim Riggleman, veteran manager, and currently the Nats bench coach.  Both the Ownership and the entire Washington Nationals organization have the highest respect for Manny Acta and the role he has played in the short history of the Nationals.  However, it is our belief that a fresh attitude and approach is necessary as we set out to improve our performance for the remainder of the year.  We want to send a strong message to our clubhouse and our fans that the status quo is unacceptable.  We believe that more is expected of everyone in the organization.

Baseball operations will be reevaluating all our players and our options for improvement over the next several months. We hope to sign our 2009 draft choices by the August deadline.  We hope these new additions will join an already exciting Nationals youth movement headed by the likes of Lannan, Jesus Flores, Alberto Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Craig Stammen on our current roster, and the likes of promising minor league stars like Chris Marrero, Michael Burgess, Danny Espinosa, Derek Norris and Drew Storen, among many others. But, we also will be determining the viability of trades or roster upgrades that can be made without doing damage to the farm system or the developing talent we expect to blossom within the next two years.

When we bought the Washington Nationals in the middle of the 2006 season – just under three years ago – we committed to a patient, long term approach, building a strong farm system and core foundation that would deliver a perennial and consistent contender; to provide a second-to-none family entertainment value at Nationals Park; and to investment and involvement in the metropolitan Washington DC community.  Today we remain steadfastly committed to each component of that mission. We are proud to represent the National Pastime in the Nation’s Capital, and we are proud to call the Capital area home.

We know we have a way to go, but the end result will be all the richer for the early days we’ve spent together at Nationals Park.  We are getting better.  We want you to be with us as the pieces of the puzzle come together. Your support is powerful to the Nationals and baseball in Washington.  Thank you for your continuing patience and your commitment to a shared dream. 

Sincerely,

Washington Nationals Baseball Club

Acta out as manager; Riggleman new skipper

More than five hours after they lost their 61st game of the season, the Nationals have dismissed Manny Acta as their manager on Sunday night, according multiple sources. An announcement is expected to be made as early as Monday.

Acta learned about his dismissal at Nationals Park after the team landed at Dulles Airport in Washington. Team president Stan Kasten gave Acta the news.

Jim Riggleman will now be the new skipper of the Nationals.  

Acta managed the Nationals for two-plus seasons and compiled a 158-252 record. This year, the team had a 26-61 record, the worst in baseball. A mediocre bullpen and lack of defense were the reasons for the disappointing record.

In fact, a published report from FOXSports.com said on June 13th that that Acta was going to be dismissed, but acting general manager Mike Rizzo said the report was unfounded.

According to one source, the Nationals have contemplated letting Acta go since late May but decided, first, to relieve Randy St. Claire of his duties as pitching coach on June 2. Washington hired Steve McCatty to replace St. Claire.

Acta, Kasten and Rizzo did not return phone or e-mail messages MLB.com.

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