PHILADELPHIA -- Nothing is official, but it appears that Jim Riggleman will be back as manager of the Nationals for the 2011 season. The club will most likely make an announcement during the last homestand of the season, which starts Monday against the Astros.
Washington is 62-85 and has improved from last season, when it went 59-103. It was Riggleman who brought accountability back into the Nationals' clubhouse for the first time since Frank Robinson managed the club from 2002-06.
General manager Mike Rizzo praised Riggleman on Saturday for the job he has done this season.
"I like the way he has handled the team this year, and he is a good manager," Rizzo said. "With the real turbulent year this year -- from the highs and the lows -- he has really balanced it out. He has respect of the clubhouse.
"When it comes to X's and O's, he is as good as anybody. He has worked hard during trying circumstance. He has managed young players who are getting better and learning on the Major League level and have shown improvement on the Major League level. That is a positive."
Riggleman replaced Manny Acta as manager of the Nationals after the All-Star break last season. The club went 33-42 and finished the year on a seven-game winning streak.
This is Riggleman's fourth managerial stint, after leading the Padres, Cubs and Mariners. His best season as a skipper was in 1998, when he guided the Cubs to the playoffs after they won a National League Wild Card tiebreaker over the Giants. The team lost to the Braves in the NL Division Series, 3-0.
Espinosa calm, thanks to Desmond, Kennedy
PHILADELPHIA -- Since having his big game against the Mets in which he drove in six runs on Sept. 6, second baseman Danny Espinosa was 3-for-31 [.097] without an RBI entering Saturday's action. Manager Jim Riggleman said he is not concerned about Espinosa's slump.
The skipper said he wants Espinosa to face adversity now in order to have a scouting report for next year.
Espinosa said he has faced some tough pitchers of late and is trying to make the adjustments necessary to be successful.
Shortstop Ian Desmond and second baseman Adam Kennedy have told Espinosa not to put any pressure on himself during the slump. Both Desmond and Kennedy reminded Espinosa that they have also gone through slumps in their careers. The encouragement has helped Espinosa relax.
"They said, 'Take that pressure off,' so that's what I'm trying to do now," Espinosa said. "I feel comfortable up there. I just have to get the ball in the zone."
"I talk with Ian a lot. He is always telling me to relax and just play my game -- stop thinking about the slump. Adam is always helping me out with tips and always trying to help me get better.
Detwiler returns to Nats' rotation
PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals have decided to put left-hander Ross Detwiler back in the starting rotation. Manager Jim Riggleman said Detwiler will likely follow right-hander Jason Marquis, which means Detwiler will face the Astros on Thursday.
Since returning to the big leagues on Sept. 7, Detwiler has been a reliever and pitched four scoreless innings.
Riggleman indicated that Detwiler will be part of a six-man rotation the rest of the season.