July 13, 2009 / 7:17 PM / 9 years ago

Nationals fire Acta, name Riggleman interim manager

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Nationals have fired manager Manny Acta after making the worst start in Major League Baseball this season, the team said on Monday.

Bench coach Jim Riggleman will serve as interim manager, the Nationals said on their website (washington.nationals.mlb.com).

The Nationals have won only 26 of 87 games in the first half of the Major League season and trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by 29 1/2 games in the National League standings.

“It is our belief that a fresh attitude and approach is necessary as we set out to improve our performance for the remainder of the year,” the team said in a letter addressed to fans.

“Much of the season ... has been defined by weak relief pitching, poor defense, and youthful inconsistency. We have tried to work through this period with patience and focus, but now we are faced with mounting losses which are beginning to take a toll on our entire roster,” the letter said.

Acta had coached the Nationals since 2007, compiling a 158-252 record during 2 1/2 seasons.

“It was a great learning experience, I have no regrets,” he said in a statement.

Riggleman managed three other Major League teams, compiling a 552-652 record with the San Diego Padres (1992-94), Chicago Cubs (1995-99) and Seattle Mariners (2008).

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina. Editing by Ed Osmond

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