Nats hire Johnson as senior adviser
WASHINGTON -- After years of working with national teams, Davey Johnson is returning to the Nationals.
The longtime major league manager joined the front office of the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. The 66-year-old Johnson will work as a senior adviser to general manager Mike Rizzo.
Johnson has managed and coached several U.S. teams in recent years. He was a coach under manager Buck Martinez during the 2006 World Baseball Classic and guided the U.S. team to the WBC semifinals this year. In between, he led the Americans to a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, where he managed emerging phenom -- and Nationals' No. 1 overall draft pick -- Stephen Strasburg.
"When I first laid eyes on him, I really got nervous," Johnson said. "He threw so good. ... He reminded me of a little bit more advanced Dwight Gooden."
Johnson spent this summer managing amateur players in the Florida Collegiate Summer League. He's most remembered for leading the New York Mets to the 1986 World Series championship and for his two titles as a second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles.
Johnson is on the current ballot for the Hall of Fame as a manager -- he will find out next month if he's been elected by the Veterans Committee. He managed four teams over 14 seasons from 1984-2000, compiling a 1148-888 record, a .564 wining percentage.
"He's a deep thinker, and he's done every aspect you can do in the game," Rizzo said. "Just to be around a person of his knowledge and his database, it just helps me out that much better."
Johnson has worked for the Nationals before, as a special consultant to then-general manager Jim Bowden in 2006. He's returning to a team that led the led the majors with 103 losses and will be on hand at spring training.
"I love the game of baseball; I love to see young talent," Johnson said. "I know what a good prospect looks like."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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