Manny Acta still had his job last night, a bit of a surprise considering the death watch the Washington Nationals manager has been on since Friday.

Team president Stan Kasten yesterday refused to confirm or deny reports of Acta's impending demise, but told the Washington Post he was "troubled" by the team's record.

Reports by both and Fox Sports said Acta would be replaced by bench coach Jim Riggleman, who has managed San Diego, Seattle and the Chicago Cubs.

The Nationals are 16-45, a tidy 20 games behind the Phillies in the NL East, and seem headed for a second straight 100-loss season. (The team was 59-102 last year.)

"Acta is very well-liked by the Nationals, who admire his patience," wrote Jon Heyman of "However, sources say they wouldn't mind seeing a little more fight and feistiness out of him."

What ails Santana?

New York Mets lefthander Johan Santana spent the day denying injury reports after being lit up for nine runs Sunday in a 15-0 thrashing by the Yankees.

Former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson told ESPN Radio he had heard rumors that Santana was bothered by his surgically repaired left knee - a report the team denied.

According to Newsday, pitching coach Dan Warthen said Santana had been affected by a blister on his big toe and another on the middle finger of his left hand, which may have caused him to change the grip on his fastball.

The pitcher said it was just a "rough day."


Former NL Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne has signed with the Quebec Capitales of the unaffiliated Can-Am League. Gagne was released by Milwaukee in March. . . . Former pitcher Hal Woodeshick died Sunday in Houston at age 76, the Astros said. He pitched for the expansion Houston Colt 45s in 1962 and the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals in 1967 during an 11-year career.