Nationals manager Davey Johnson was able to speak to the media today for the first time since he was ejected from Thursday’s 9-7 win over the Pirates. Randy Knorr spoke postgame because Johnson was not available.
Johnson was asked if he agreed with the decision by Knorr to pull closer Rafael Soriano in the ninth after he struggled to get outs, allowing two hits and two walks.
“Yeah, I mean, (that is) sometimes what you do,” Johnson said. “You go with what you are seeing. I was watching from my office. I don’t try to control things from my office. Once I get ejected, I am done. We know what we want to do and in what spot.
“I think Soriano was more frustrated with the strike zone that sometimes was a little inconsistent. I am sure he has been in situations like that before. It shouldn’t have had that much effect on him.”
Johnson said he didn’t know if he would have made the same decision because that type of change is based on many factors. He would want to be able to see Soriano pitching firsthand to make that decision in a game.
“I want to see it coming out of his hand and the way the hitter is reacting,” Johnson said. “They are good baseball men, I trust whatever they do.”
Johnson also believes the replacement of Soriano will not get his closer upset in the long term.
“No, he is a professional,” Johnson said of Soriano. “Strange things happen in a baseball season. He has been hooked before. I think I hooked him in Cincy.”
Johnson said he has not managed from his office while with the Nationals because he trusts his coaching staff.
“They know what I am thinking and they see what I do,” Johnson said. “They are close to what is going on. Managing from afar never works. Sometimes the timeframe that you need to make a decision takes too long to get it done.”
But that doesn’t mean he has never made a change in a game from his office after being ejected.
One came in the famous Mets-Braves on July 4, 1985, The Mets beat the Braves 16-13 in 19 innings in a game that ended at 4 a.m. Johnson was the Mets’ manager at the time:
“I have managed from my office in my earlier days. I got ejected around 12 o’clock and around 2:30 in the morning, I had to make a decision. I didn’t like what they were going to do. They were going to put (left fielder Danny) Heep in the game to pitch. I said, ‘No, we ain’t doing that. Put (Ron) Darling in there, he threw today. Run him out there.’ “
Johnson believes that Knorr has the experience and knowhow to be a big
league manager because he is a good coach and he knows the Nationals’ talent very well.
“Yeah, he has managed at Triple-A,” Johnson said. My ideal (candidate) has to manage in your system so you know the talent in your system.”