Acta not fired. Yet.

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Nationals’ manager Manny Acta is rumored to be out the door, but no one has told him that yet:

After
today’s game, the elephant remained in the room. Manny Acta has in fact
boarded the team plane, heading to New York for the upcoming series
against the Yankees. But that begins Tuesday. We’ll see what happens
tomorrow.

Not quite the same thing as Omar Minaya allowing
Willie Randolph to get on a plane and fly all the way out to California
before being fired last year, but if the reports of his impending
demise are true, I can’t imagine why the Nats didn’t simply fire Acta
after yesterday’s game. Or, better yet, before yesterday’s game.
There’s no percentage in letting a guy twist in the wind like this. And
he is twisting. Team president Stan Kasten had the chance to dispel this rumor over the weekend and didn’t. When you see that, you can pretty much bank on the fact that the axe is ready to swing.

While
Kasten himself has a good reputation, there is a strong sense inside
the game that the Nationals’ owners are clueless when it comes to
baseball operations. But don’t let me passing along rumors convince
you: the Nats’ baseball operations over the past few years are evidence
enough that they have no idea what they’re doing. Letting a manager
dangle like this — which sends a negative message to anyone else who
may one day want to manager this club themselves — is yet another
example of the Nats simply getting it wrong.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.