NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – 68-year-old Davey Johnson, who will be forever remembered in New York for leading the Mets to the 1986 World Series title, is returning to the dugout — for the Nationals.
Johnson will take over the club on Monday. Former Washington manager Jim Riggleman resigned abruptly Thursday after the Nationals beat Seattle, unhappy that general manager Mike Rizzo declined to have a conversation about picking up his option for 2012. The departure was stunning for its timing: Including Sunday’s victory, the Nationals have won 13 of their last 15 games.
“If you’re a Mets fan, it’s a sad day,” former pitcher for the 1986 Mets and current SNY analyst Ron Darling told the New York Daily News, “because he’ll make them winners.”
As it stands, the Mets are looking up at the third-place Nationals in the NL East.
Johnson’s official announcement came Sunday. Now, he will return to a team that has played well lately and has a bright future with a young star in 18-year-old Bryce Harper, who is tearing up Class-A ball, and with 22-year-old right-hander Stephen Strasburg expected to recover from elbow surgery.
“Davey is smart enough that he wouldn’t step into a situation if he didn’t know it was right,” Darling told the paper. “He knows when to go all in.”
Even though he hasn’t managed in the majors for 11 years, Johnson did skipper Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and 2008 Olympics. Two summers ago, he managed amateur players in a Florida collegiate league.
“He wins the World Series in ’86 with the Mets,” Nationals hurler Livan Hernandez said. “It’s perfect. He’s a great manager and he’s got a lot of history.”
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