Notes: Third stint for Stanton?

Notes: Third stint for Stanton?

WASHINGTON -- New manager Manny Acta said on Tuesday that he would like to have at least two lefties in the bullpen in 2007, and free-agent reliever Mike Stanton said on Wednesday night that he is willing to put on a Nationals uniform for the third time in his career.

General manager Jim Bowden twice traded Stanton for prospects. On July 13, 2005, Stanton signed a free-agent contract with the Nationals, but on Sept. 29 was traded to the Red Sox for Minor League pitchers Rhys Taylor and Yader Peralta. Stanton re-signed with the Nationals last Christmas Eve, but was traded to the Giants for right-hander Shairon Martis on July 28.

Unlike his two previous times as a free agent, Stanton, 39, has leverage because of his performance with San Francisco. He became the team's closer, saving eight games with a respectable 3.09 ERA. But he is not marketing himself as a closer.

"I had a good time in Washington," said Stanton, who had a 4.47 ERA with the Nationals last season. "They have a good bunch of young kids there. It was fun playing there. At this point in my career, you don't rule out anything or anyone. With the background that I have with the Nationals, and with Jim, anything is possible.

"If somebody wants to give me a shot as a closer, that's great. The bottom line is, unless they put 'closer' on the contract, my job is to be a relief pitcher."

Stanton reiterated that family is important to him and that he would like to play near his New Jersey home.

"That's not going to change," he said. "This offseason is a little different than last season, because I had a good year. I pitched pretty well down the stretch. But my family will always come first. Being as close to them as possible is a big part of it."

Asked how he was able to turn his season around with the Giants, he said, "I spent a lot more time in the strike zone, especially early in the count. For anybody, that is a bonus. I got out there and [had] a little more adrenaline, pitching in a pennant race. I've been always one that thrived in big games."

Bowden and Acta were not available for comment.

Back in the fold: Mitchell Page was all set to be the Nationals' Minor League hitting coordinator next season, but Acta convinced him on Wednesday to return as the Major League hitting coach. Bowden said all along that he was going to leave it up to Acta to make a decision on Page.

"Acta heard some good things about me, thanks to [assistant general manager Bob Boone]. So I decided to return," Page said on the phone on Wednesday night.

The Nationals' offense improved under Page in 2006. The team hit .262, and such players as Brian Schneider and Nook Logan often credited him for improving their skills with the bat.

No longer here: The Associated Press reported that Frank Falzarano was "charged on Wednesday in connection with a billion-dollar-a-year gambling ring that rivaled casino sports books."

Who is Falzarano? According to the report, he is a scout with the Nationals, but no longer, say multiple sources. Falzarano's contract was not renewed when it expired on Oct. 31. He worked for the team as a part-time scout who just recommended players in New York area.

The sources added that the Nationals are not allowed to talk about Falzarano.

On the radio: The Nationals named Bonneville International Corporation as its radio partner for the 2007 season. For the second straight year, all 162 regular-season games, as well as at least 10 Spring Training contests, will be heard on WTWP, which transmits on 107.7-FM and AM-1500.

The agreement also calls for an extensive postgame show and weekly Nationals programming. Details for both shows will be determined at a later date.

The Nationals' radio team of Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler will return for a second consecutive season in 2007. Slowes has been with the Nationals since the club's inaugural campaign, and Jageler enters his second season.

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