Results tagged ‘ Davey Johnson ’

Johnson to manage Nats next season

WASHINGTON — The Nationals announced on Monday that they have exercised manager Davey Johnson’s option for the 2012 season.

Johnson took over the position on an interim basis on June 26, three days after Jim Riggleman resigned. Washington went 40-43 under Johnson, finishing third in the National League East — its highest finish since the team moved from Montreal after the 2004 season.

Johnson said being around people in the front office, the Minor League system and Major Leagues are the reasons he wanted to continue to manage the club. Johnson sees himself as a father figure to most of the young players.

“It’s just a great organization. It’s one of the better ones I’ve ever been in, if not the best,” Johnson said. “There is no question that I love baseball. … I thought everything worked pretty good together [with the team]. I think we accomplished a lot of things. I would say the last two or three weeks, when I had kind of mixture of talent that I wanted on the ballclub … that’s when I really felt that there is so much more we can do here, and I need to be here to help see it along.”

Johnson made it clear that his goal in 2012 is win the NL pennant. To do that, the Nats must improve offensively. Johnson felt that his position players struck out too much. He would like to see much more production out of his reserves. Last year, the bench was built on speed and defense. Johnson would like to add power to the bench.

“I wouldn’t have been able to say that last spring,” Johnson said about winning a pennant. “But after being there and seeing the progress the young players made, I think we definitely can contend. I would be sorely disappointed if we didn’t do just that. The talent is there. I like the way we stack up in our division. I’m not just sticking out my chest. My baseball instinct tells me that’s where we need to be. That’s where we need to go and we can get there.”

In 2011, for the second time in his career, Johnson took a big league manager’s job in the middle of a season. He did the same with Cincinnati in 1993, and one season later, his Reds finished atop the NL Central with a .579 winning percentage during the strike-shortened 1994 campaign.

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said it was an easy choice to hire Johnson as the interim manager in June. Rizzo remembered how Johnson worked with the players during Spring Training.

“The only questions that I had about Davey taking over [were], ‘Did he want to do it? Was his energy level and his focus were going to be there?’ Even as early as Spring Training this year, I saw that he moved around better this year,” Rizzo said. “He always had the fungo in his hands. He was always pounding ground balls to the young guys.

“He had the energy and a bounce in his step that I thought to myself, “Wow, Davey is really into it. He is really fired up for the season.’ It couldn’t have been a smoother, easier decision for me to bring Davey on in midseason. It was just as comfortable and easy decision after the season to pick up the option and make Davey the leader of the ballclub.”

Johnson has skippered five clubs (Nationals, Dodgers, Orioles, Reds, Mets) in 15 seasons, compiling a 1,188-931 record and a .561 career winning percentage that ranks second to only Earl Weaver (.583) among living managers with 10 or more years of experience.

He is one of only six living men to have won a World Series ring as a player and manager, joining Alvin Dark, Joe Girardi, Lou Piniella, Mike Scioscia and Red Schoendienst.

Johnson joined the Nationals as a special assistant to the general manager on Nov. 18, 2009, after managing Team USA to a semifinal berth in the World Baseball Classic.

Nats looking for bench coach; Corrales re-assigned

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said on Monday that everyone on the 2011 coaching will return next season with the exception of Pat Corrales, who was the bench coach. However, Corrales will remain in the organization, most likely in the Minor League system.

Corrales had three tenures as Washington’s bench coach. Besides Johnson, Corrales worked in a similar role for Manny Acta and Jim Riggleman.

“Pat is invaluable in the system. I love him to death and he did a great job, but we’ll probably have a different coach there,” Johnson said.

Johnson and general Mike Rizzo declined to say who could become the next bench coach for the team.

Meanwhile Rick Eckstein [hitting coach], Trent Jewett [First base], Steve McCatty [pitching], Bo Porter [third-base coach] and Jim Lett [bullpen] will remain in their roles for next season.

Strasburg has impressive outing vs. Marlins

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg pitched his best game of the year in a 3-1 victory over the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon.

Strasburg, who was not on a pitch limit, threw six shutout innings, allowed one hit and struck out a season-high 10 batters.

Manager Davey Johnson said Strasburg could have pitched another inning, but the skipper decided against it.

“I was pretty impressed and what I liked more about it was that he just pitched,” Johnson said. “He didn’t overthrow, stayed within himself, made pitches. I could have gotten another inning out of him, but I’m pleased with what I saw. He is now one of the boys. He is back.”

For Strasburg, who missed most of this season rehabbing his arm because of Tommy John surgery, was pleased with his performance, but said there is still a lot of work to be done before next season.

“I felt pretty good out there, just going out there pounding the strike zone,” Strasburg said. “After today, it’s all water under the bridge. I’m going into the offseason [and] I still have a lot of work to do. I’m still not back to where I want to be. I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can again.”

Strasburg was also pleased that he was able to throw his breaking pitches for strikes. He had problems locating the pitches for almost a month.

“It’s something I’ve been searching for this last month,” Strasburg said. “I wasn’t going to be hard on myself just knowing that [they are pitches] I started throwing at the end of July. It’s something that is going to come back with just reps and feel. Today, I have it back. Going into the offseason, I’m going to work hard and I know it’s going to be there come Spring Training.”

Storen doesn’t make excuses for subpar outing

Nationals closer Drew Storen pitched the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon and was touched up for three runs in a 7-4 loss to the Dodgers.

Storen pitched two-thirds of an inning and had a tough time throwing strikes. Of the 25 pitches he threw, only 11 went for strikes. Manager Davey Johnson said a lack of action, not the rain, was at the root of Storen’s ineffectiveness. Since Aug. 22, Storen has appeared in just three games.

“He didn’t have good command today,” manager Davey Johnson said. “He has logged a lot of games. He is going to have some rough spots at times. This is his first full year. I can deal with that.”

Storen didn’t have any excuses as to why he didn’t pitch well.

“I just didn’t get it done. … I should be able to go out there and throw strikes,” he said.

Sunday’s game between Nats, Reds has three ejections

There were three ejections during the Nationals’ 6-4 loss to the Reds on Sunday.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson, bench coach Pat Corrales and Reds skipper Dusty Baker were all tossed from the game.

Johnson was ejected in the seventh inning. He thought Michael Morse was hit by a pitch. He spoke to home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook, who then had a meeting with the umpiring crew. They all agreed that Morse was not hit. Johnson argued, while third-base umpire Joe West threw Johnson out of the game.

Johnson said he did not use profanity to get tossed.

“Mr. West thought to get rid of me,” Johnson said. “That’s part of the game, I guess.”

Bench coach Pat Corrales then took over as manager and was also ejected by Holbrook in the ninth inning for arguing balls and strikes. Corrales simply told the umpire a certain pitch was high.

“I didn’t swear it at him or anything,” Corrales said.

Baker acknowledged that he cussed at the umpire. In the 12th inning, Drew Stubbs was caught trying to steal second base, but the replay showed that shortstop Ian Desmond did not make the tag on Stubbs.

“I said the magic word today, a couple of them,” Baker said about being ejected.

It looked like Desmond was going to be ejected in the sixth inning. After striking out looking to end the frame, Desmond was seen yelling at Holbrook for about 10 seconds, but Desmond remained in the game.

“A long game like that, it wears on the players and the umpires,” Desmond said. “I have a lot of respect for Sam back there. It was one of those heat of the moment things. That is very out of character for me to yell at the umpire. At the time, I cared. It was a little intense. You can’t leave it in the umpire’s hands.”

Desmond makes up for Saturday’s error against Phillies

Shortstop Ian Desmond made an error that hurt the Nationals in a 5-0 loss to the Phillies on Saturday.

However, Sunday was a different story as his game-tying home run helped Washington in a 5-4 victory over Philadelphia.

With the Phillies leading, 4-3, in the ninth inning, Desmond came to the plate with two outs. On a 1-2 pitch from reliever Antonio Bastardo, Desmond hit the ball over the left-field wall for his fifth home run of the season. There was Desmond showing his emotions as he rounded first base and again as he reached the dugout.

“He made adjustments,” Bastardo said. “The pitch was supposed to be for a strike. It was a little bit up in the zone, in the middle. It was supposed to be in the inside corner.”

While running the bases, Desmond was the thinking about the error he made in Saturday’s contest. In the fourth inning, the Nationals had John Mayberry Jr. picked off, but Desmond couldn’t catch an easy throw from first baseman Michael Morse, which allowed Mayberry to reach second base. Mayberry would later score on a triple by Wilson Valdez.

“Last night was a hard-night sleep for me,” Desmond said. “I told myself to come out [on Sunday] and put that behind me. I touched first base put my hand up and I was like, ‘Yes.’ That’s how you come back. That’s why you don’t give up. That’s why you have to keep on trying.”

In the last couple of days, manager Davey Johnson has had one-on-one talks with Desmond. The skipper wanted to know what Desmond was thinking at the plate. Entering Sunday’s action against Philadelphia, Desmond was hitting .228.

“I talked to him one-on-one the last couple of days. I was trying to clear his mind a little bit,” Johnson said. “You know he tries to do so much. I was just trying to simplify it. He is a very aggressive player and sometimes he is just overly aggressive. You don’t want to take him away from that.

“But he’ll chase balls out of the strike zone and try to make something happen. That’s what young guys usually do. He has learned about himself. … He was overly aggressive his first year [on defense] and he settled down. He needs to take that same thing to the plate and he knows it.”

Mattheus has tightness in shoulder, listed as day to day

Nationals right-hander Ryan Mattheus left Thursday’s 3-1 victory against the Reds because of shoulder tightness. He is listed as day to day.

Mattheus replaced right-hander Jordan Zimmermann in the sixth inning and was able to strike out Paul Janish to end the inning.

Mattheus tried coming out for the seventh, but was unable to warm up. He was taken out of the game and replaced by right-hander Henry Rodriguez.

Mattheus said the shoulder injury is not considered serious. Manager Davey Johnson said Mattheus hurt the shoulder lifting weights before the game.

“I found out later he was working out earlier and put up a little too much weight and was tight, but he said it was nothing to worry about,” Johnson said. “We’re not going to take that chance. I told him he needed to be honest in the future. He said, ‘I spent a year and a half pitching when I was hurt, and it cost me a year and a half.’ That was scary.”

Said Mattheus: “It’s normal. I don’t think it’s going to be anything that stops me. It was just a little tightness. I was doing a little extra stretching in the dugout between innings. A couple of the guys came up to me and asked, “Why are you stretching?” [A teammate] told [pitching coach] Steve McCatty and they did the right thing. They didn’t have time to sit down and ask me, ‘Hey, how are you feeling?’”

Mattheus has been a productive reliever for Nationals this season, going 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in 28 games.

Nats’ Morse likely to make position switch

Nationals first baseman Michael Morse continued his hot hitting during a 6-4 victory over the Reds on Tuesday night at Nationals Park. Morse went 2-for-4 against the Reds to raise his batting average to .323, which ranks third in the National League.

The first hit for Morse came in the first inning when he doubled to right field, scoring Rick Ankiel. Two innings later, Morse hit his 21st home run of the season, a solo shot over the right-field wall.

“He’s been really consistent all year,” manager Davey Johnson said. “Since I’ve been here, he really hasn’t had a bad game. He missed one day [after being hit by a pitch] and came back and hit ropes the next day. I don’t know where we’d be without him. He’s been awfully good.”

Although Morse has done an above average job at first base, Johnson said he will put Morse back in left field before the season comes to an end. Morse is expected to be a corner outfielder in 2012 once first baseman Adam LaRoche returns to the lineup. LaRoche has missed most of this season because of shoulder problems.

“I’m thinking at some point in time this season I might move him back [to left field],” Johnson said. “Ideally, when LaRoche comes back, we’ll have LaRoche at first and probably Morse in left field. We’re going to have Morse somewhere every day.”

Morse doesn’t care where he plays. He said starting his professional career as a shortstop has made him adapt to other positions.

“I don’t mind it. I look at the lineup and whatever it says, I play,” Morse said. “I think playing shortstop has helped me adjust at any position. I like the infield. I’ve always liked the infield, but if I’m in the outfield, I’m in the outfield. If I’m catching, I’m catching.”

Johnson wants Clippard, Storen to stay with Nats

After watching his team shutout the Mets, 3-0, on Saturday night, Nationals manager Davey Johnson made it clear that he wants relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard to remain on the team past the non-waiver Trade Deadline, which is Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.

In a recent close-door meeting, Storen told Johnson that he didn’t want to be traded. Reports have surfaced that Storen could be traded to the Twins for outfielder Denard Span. Johnson told Storen that he wanted him around.

“You can’t take anything for granted. I don’t,” Johnson told the media. “I didn’t think [Jerry] Hairston was going anywhere. … Anything could happen.”

In his first full season with the Nats, Storen has 26 saves with a 2.63 ERA in 49 games.

“This is where I want to be. That’s the reason I signed quickly,” Storen said. “I wanted to join the organization because I want to be part of turning this thing around.

“I’ve only been here for a year and half, but emotionally I feel like I’ve invested a lot into this. I want to turn this team around. But at the same time, I understand that [general manager] Mike [Rizzo] has a job to do himself. So I can understand the business side of things, too.”

Johnson said definitively that Clippard is going nowhere before the deadline. Clippard is clearly the best reliever on the Nationals, going 1-0 with a 1.66 ERA in 47 games.

“Tyler ain’t going anywhere. I’m going with him,” Johnson said. “I don’t where we would be without Tyler.”

Johnson wants to make changes to rotation

Nationals manager Davey Johnson sees his starting rotation continue to struggle, but he is also well aware of the young arms — Tom Milone and Brad Peacock — impressing with at Triple-A Syracuse, and he wants to see them in Washington soon.

The Nationals’ starters have a combined 5.97 ERA in 13 games since the All-Star break, and Johnson is ready for some changes.

“We have a couple of guys that are knocking on the door, pitchers in particular,” Johnson said. “Depending on what happens the next couple of days we might be seeing a new, young arm up here. Right now with the starting pitching, we have to have some improvement there.”

Milone, a left-hander, spent the entire season in Syracuse, where he is 8-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 19 starts. The 10th-round pick in 2008 out of Southern California threw 117 innings with 120 strikeouts and only 10 walks.

Peacock made it to the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game after a dominant first half with Double-A Harrisburg and got the call to Triple-A while in Phoenix. In just his third Triple-A start he threw a one-hitter over seven innings.

“Those are the guys I’d like to get some experience up here,” Johnson said.

– Steven Miller

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