The Washington Nationals
held a press conference this afternoon to introduce their third manager since moving from Montreal in 2005, former bench coach and three-time major league manager Jim Riggleman.
Riggleman made some preliminary opening comments about his appreciation for former manager Manny Acta, saying that the players and coaches felt they "let Manny down," but that things were "gonna get better."
The opening question was asked directly: What changes are in store for the second half of the season? Riggleman again defended the outgoing manager, saying that everything Acta tried and said were the correct things.
"There's not a lot of change to make; we just gotta get some results."
Riggleman indicated that he is confident that the "talent is gonna surface." He also said that he doesn't expect to overhaul the lineup or the batting order. "You manage the ones you have."
When asked about his managerial style, a pertinent question as Acta took major damage from media and fans alike for not being more aggressive with umpires or his players, Riggleman replied, "I'm a bit of a softie."
But he also said that he expects his players to be professionals, and he would find it a problem if players lost respect for the game, the fans, or him personally.
"If they aren't playing hard, that irks me. If they aren't respectful of the game, respectful of the uniform, respectful of the fans, or [respectful of] the organization, if they do that, then there's a problem."
"Play hard. I got no problem if you miss a ball, but if you don't chase it after you miss it, I got a problem."
The new manager also indicated that his voice will not be that much different from Acta's, but that he will stress to the team that "losing should hurt." He thinks the current players are better than their previous performance.
"We'll just keep hitting them balls, and finally, they will catch them....Eventually that work is gonna pay off. And if it doesn't, it wasn't meant to be."
Asked if the current players don't show improvement on defense if there was a "Plan B," Riggleman said, "Our lineup is what it is....I don't think there is a 'what if we don't,' I know that we will."