CLEVELAND: The Washington Nationals didn't finish at the bottom of the standings because Manny Acta was their manager. But he is the man who paid the price for losing, having been fired midway through last year after 2 1/2 seasons on the job.
Now, the revamped Nationals have made a splash by unveling super prospect Stephen Strasburg and latching onto purportedly the best hitter in this year's draft, Bryce Harper, with the first overall pick.
Is Acta bitter that he didn't get to stick around and reap the benefits of the Nationals' poor finishes?
""Good for them,'' the Indians' manager said Wednesday. ""I just went through what everyone of us goes through. It's part of the process. Just about every manager of a rebuilding team lasts two or three years. I'm grateful to have gotten the opportunity.''
Guiding the Nationals was Acta's the first big-league managerial job. Without that experience, it's doubtful he would have been sought after by Houston and Cleveland over the winter.
Acta was happy to see his friend, Jim Riggleman, succeed him in Washington.
""They made a lot of changes there,'' Acta said. ""I'm happy for Jim. He is one of the few guys I called when I had a chance to come here or go somewhere (Houston) else.''
The Nationals will make an impact on the Tribe's attendance on Sunday, when Strasburg makes his second major-league start. The stunningly talented right-hander will have a difficult time improving on his debut, a seven-inning, 14 strikeout start against Pittsburgh Tuesday night, when he gave up one run to earn the win.