Acta 'optimistic' after interviewing for Rangers' job

Updated: October 21, 2006, 9:35 PM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNdeportes.com

NEW YORK -- New York Mets third-base coach Manny Acta was impressed with the management of the Texas Rangers and left his Friday interview with the team optimistic about his chances of becoming the next Hispanic manager in the major leagues.

Acta met with Rangers GM Jon Daniels and his assistant Thad Levine.

"I'm profoundly impressed by the way the Rangers are planning the future of their organization," Acta told ESPNdeportes.com from Dallas.

"It was a good interview and I'm very optimistic about my possibilities."

Shortly after the Mets were eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, Acta flew to Dallas to be interviewed by the Rangers' executives.

Acta also received calls from the San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals and is officially on both clubs' managerial candidates lists.

"Brian Sabean, the Giants' GM, told me that he wants to talk with me as soon as possible, while the Nationals are looking for the best interview date next week," Acta said.

In San Francisco, Acta would replace fellow Dominican Felipe Alou, while in Washington he would take Frank Robinson's place. Both were fired when the regular season came to an end, as was previous Rangers manager Buck Showalter.

With Alou fired, only two Hispanic managers remain in the majors: Ozzie Guillén, from Venezuela, in charge of the Chicago White Sox, and Fredi Gonzalez, from Cuba, is the new manager of the Florida Marlins.

Another Dominican, Tony Pena, the first base coach of the New York Yankees, was interviewed by the Nationals last Wednesday.

Acta, 36, has been coaching in the majors for the past five years. He was with the Montreal Expos from 2002-04 and with New York since 2005.

He played six seasons in the Houston Astros' minor league system until 1992, when he started an early career as manager.

Acta was the manager of the Tigres del Licey for two seasons in the Dominican Republic Winter Baseball League, and he was the manager of the Dominican Republic national team in the World Baseball Classic in March. He also was a manager in the Venezuelan Winter Baseball League.

The Rangers had already interviewed Oakland Athletics third-base coach Ron Washington and Philadelphia Phillies minor league manager John Russell, a former Rangers catcher who caught one of Nolan Ryan's seven no-hitters.

Daniels plans to interview at least two other candidates, Japanese manager Trey Hillman and Rangers bench coach Don Wakamatsu.

The Rangers dismissed Showalter after an 80-82 season, the team's sixth losing record in seven years since last making the playoffs in 1999. Showalter was 319-329 in four seasons.

Hillman is an Arlington native and the Rangers' former director of player development whose Nippon Ham Fighters began play in the Japan Series championship this weekend. Hillman is expected to interview after that series, and Daniels said he will talk to Wakamatsu after finishing with the external candidates.

Washington is also a candidate to replace A's manager Ken Macha, who was fired this week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.

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