WASHINGTON (AP) -The White House said Friday it had no input on the decision to have Nationals manager Manny Acta catch the ceremonial first pitch from President Bush on Sunday night. Acta was picked instead of starting catcher Paul Lo Duca, whose name appeared prominently in the Mitchell Report on drug use in baseball.
``It was a decision that was made by the Nationals,'' White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.
Asked if the president would have any objection to throwing to Lo Duca, Stanzel said: ``The president was happy to throw out the first pitch to whoever the Nationals selected.''
Nationals president Stan Kasten said Lo Duca was never considered to catch the pitch. He said the team owners chose between Acta and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, both of whom will accompany the president to the mound.
``Myself and the Lerner family thought it would be appropriate to represent our team and the youth of our team,'' Kasten said. ``Ryan Zimmerman would be a good person to accompany the president, and our leader, our manager, Manny Acta. Those choices seemed obvious to us. Those have always been our choices. Anyone else who had different thoughts was just misinformed.''
Lo Duca, publicly at least, took the news in stride.
``That's OK,'' the catcher said. ``Hopefully, I'll still meet the president.''
Notes: Acta will announce his opening day lineup before Saturday's exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles. ... OF Elijah Dukes rejoined the team after missing Thursday's exhibition game to deal with non-baseball matters.

Top MLB Public Bets

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Opening 2018 World Series Odds The 2018 World Series opening odds have been released. Who is favored, who is the biggest challenger, and who is also in the mix?
Thumbnail Astros vs. Dodgers Pick Are the Houston Astros going to clinch their first-ever World Series title Wednesday night in Game 7 with an upset win at the Los Angeles Dodgers? Game time is...
Thumbnail Astros vs. Dodgers Pick Can the Houston Astros clinch their first-ever World Series title Tuesday night in Game 6 at the Los Angeles...
Thumbnail Dodgers vs. Astros Pick Are the Los Angeles Dodgers going to ride Clayton Kershaw to a victory over the host Houston Astros in a pivotal Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night? First pitch is at...
Thumbnail Dodgers vs. Astros Pick Are the Houston Astros going to win a third straight game over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday night in Game 4 of the World Series? First pitch is at...

MLB Team Pages