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Nationals plan to alter coaching staff

Nationals plan to alter coaching staff

WASHINGTON -- Manager Manny Acta acknowledged on Saturday afternoon that the Nationals will make changes to the coaching staff next year, and the team most likely will not make an announcement until after the season.

It's not a secret that hitting coach Lenny Harris is on the hot seat because of the team's lack of offense this year. Besides being blanked 20 times this season, the Nationals rank near the bottom in almost every offensive category. According to a baseball source, members of the organization are going back and forth on whether to keep Harris.

But outfielder Willie Harris credits Lenny Harris for helping him have the best season of his career. Entering Saturday's game against the Phillies, Willie Harris was hitting .251 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs.

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"I don't think anybody expected me to hit 13 home runs. I didn't expect it," Willie Harris said. "All my hitting this year, I give it all to Lenny just because he taught me the mental part of the game. It's in me now. He said go up there and hit it hard. That's what I've been doing every since."

Acta also was upset that an unnamed team official was quoted in The Washington Post as saying that the Nationals have the worst coaching staff in baseball. Acta pointed out that nobody on the coaching staff was criticized when Washington had a 73-89 record last year.

"Losing brings out bad characters," Acta said. "It's very easy for some of you [members of the media] to hide behind guys named sources, think tank, an opposing scout, a National League top executive and an official. I don't believe most of those comments, because any one of you guys can hide behind any of those guys. It's an old trick."

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

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