Is Jim Riggleman the right man to lead the Nationals? Will outfielder Austin Kearns get his unconditional release? Those are two of the many questions Nationals fans have been asking. Here are some answers to their queries.
With Jim Riggleman at the helm, I was wondering if you could familiarize Nats fans with Riggleman's style of managing. -- Dean C., Washington, D.C.
Riggleman is the type of guy who will not tolerate lackadaisical effort. When Riggleman was managing the Padres, I saw him take Phil Plantier out of the game at Shea Stadium for not hustling on the bases. When he was with the Cubs, Riggleman was not afraid to get in a player's face for doing something wrong on the field.
I think we'll see Riggleman try to manufacture runs and not wait for the three-run home run. It needs to be more than just Nyjer Morgan stealing bases and bunting for base hits. The way the team is going, I believe he'll need to be innovative if he's to scratch out a few extra victories.
What are your feelings about Manny Acta being relieved of his duties as manager of the Nationals? Do you really think Riggleman can win more than 26 games with this roster during the second half? -- Gil B., Rochester, N.Y.
I was not surprised that the Nationals made the move. They had no choice, because the team was not responding to Acta, who I still believe will be a great manager one day. Will the Nationals win more than 26 games under Riggleman? I really don't know. The good news is that the Nationals are playing with a lot more energy in the second half -- thus far.
Do you see the Nationals signing first-round Draft pick Stephen Strasburg by the Aug. 17 deadline? -- Craig D., Delmar, Md.
I'm confident a deal will get done because of acting general manager Mike Rizzo, who has a great relationship with Strasburg adviser Scott Boras. Like I said in the past, it will go down to the wire.
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If the Nats cannot trade Austin Kearns by the July 31 Trade Deadline, do you think he will be released? -- Rich R., Washington, D.C.
After talking to some people in the organization, I don't think Kearns is going anywhere. They like the way he has handled himself on the bench. He has never pouted about being a bench player and works hard.
What happened to Anderson Hernandez's playing time at second base? -- Ray U., Shrewsbury, Mass.
He lost his chance to be an everyday player because the Nationals want to see what Alberto Gonzalez can do on an everyday basis. I agree with the decision. There were times when I thought Hernandez was overmatched at the plate.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.