Nationals to interview Mets' Acta

Nationals to interview Mets' Acta

WASHINGTON -- One day after the Mets were eliminated from postseason play, New York general manager Omar Minaya gave the Nationals permission to talk to third-base coach Manny Acta about the managerial vacancy in Washington.

Acta's name has been coming up ever since the Nationals told Frank Robinson on Sept. 28 that he would not return as the team's skipper.

"The Nationals called this morning, and we granted them permission. I don't know when the interview will take place," Minaya said on Friday night.

Nationals general manager Jim Bowden was not available for comment. The organization has been keeping mum on the managerial search.

Of all the managerial candidates, Acta is the most familiar with the organization. He was the Expos' third-base coach under Robinson from 2002 to 2004, and has worked with catcher Brian Schneider, second baseman Jose Vidro, closer Chad Cordero and pitching coach Randy St. Claire.

Acta, 37, was one of the hardest-working coaches on the Expos. Not only did he serve as the third-base coach, he was baserunning coach, an infield coach, an interpreter for Vladimir Guerrero and Orlando Hernandez, and a go-between whenever Robinson wanted to send a message to one of his Latin players.

Acta believes that players should be held accountable for their actions, something that was lacking in the Nationals' clubhouse since the second half of the 2005 season. One time in Puerto Rico, after he'd made a crucial error in a 2003 game, Guerrero did not want to talk to the media. Acta went to Guerrero, strongly suggested that he do so, and Guerrero ended up discussing the mistake he'd made in right field.

Acta left the Expos after the 2004 season to take the third-base coaching position with the Mets.

Before going to the Expos, Acta was a Minor League manager in the Astros organization for eight years. His best season was in 1999, when he guided Class A Kissimmee to the Florida State League Championship. He also was a third-base coach in 2001 for Triple-A New Orleans.

In other managerial news, the Nationals told Joey Cora and Cecil Cooper this week that they are no longer candidates. The two interviewed for the position last week.

"I felt grateful for the opportunity to talk to them about their opening," Cooper said.

In addition, the Nationals did not ask the Mets permission to speak to Jerry Manuel about the managerial opening. There was a report that Washington had an interest in the Mets' bench coach.

A Robinson sighting: Washington has not talked to Robinson yet about his possibly working in the front office in some capacity. Robinson is in Baltimore this weekend to celebrate the 1966 Orioles, who swept the Dodgers in that year's World Series.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.