Manny Acta is fired

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We knew this was going to happen, we just thought it was going to happen sooner:

In the middle of his third season as manager, Manny Acta has been
fired by the Washington Nationals, a source with knowledge of the
situation said tonight. Asked in an e-mail about his job status, Acta
replied, simply, “Thanks for everything.” Acta’s Nationals made it to
the all-star break with a 26-61 record, worst in the majors, finishing
with six losses in their last seven games. During the first half,
Acta’s job status was the subject of much debate, and those in and out
of the organization questioned whether his unfailingly patient approach
matched the needs of a sloppy, error-prone team.

Overall, this is just the latest of several de-Bowdenification moves GM
Mike Rizzo has made with this team. It’s a good move. Acta, for all of
his potential, has not seemed at all inspired in the past few months
and some fresh air is needed. And now is as good a time as any to do
it, mostly because his replacement — who, if previous speculation is
accurate, could be bench coach Jim Riggleman, on an interim basis —
will have a day or two to get his head about him before taking over.

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.