- Associated Press - Sunday, June 26, 2011

CHICAGO (AP) - General manager Mike Rizzo had to move quickly. He needed a seasoned and successful manager to run the Washington Nationals, a promising team shocked by the abrupt resignation of Jim Riggleman.

He didn’t have to look far.

Davey Johnson, who had been advising Rizzo since 2009, was the logical choice since he was already familiar with the team’s operations, the players and Rizzo himself.

The 68-year-old Johnson, who led the New York Mets to the 1986 World Series title and had managed four big league teams, is returning to the dugout. The official announcement came Sunday.

Johnson will run the Nationals for the first time Monday when they start an interleague series against the Los Angeles Angels and stay on as manager through the rest of the season.

Davey’s a perfect fit for this job at this particular time,” Rizzo said. “He’s a guy with a track record that’s beyond reproach. He knows the system, he knows the staff, he knows the major league club and he’s a terrific baseball guy and a proved winning manager.”

Johnson agreed to a three-year consulting contract that runs through 2013, and will help select Washington’s next manager. It could be him, of course.

“It’s going to be a mutual organization decision,” Rizzo said. “Davey’s going to do what’s best for the organization and he and I will both have input in what’s going on.

“This situation just emphasizes the type of team player he is. He’s, in essence, dropping everything to get back in uniform to help us out.”

Interim manager John McLaren ran the team for the third straight game Sunday and came away with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox to finish his short stint 2-1. Riggleman’s former bench coach will be reassigned to scouting duties within the organization.

“The John McLaren era is over in Washington. Is three games an era?” McLaren said with a laugh.

Less than an hour before game time Sunday, a loud round of applause could be heard coming from the Nationals’ clubhouse as Rizzo thanked McLaren for filling in during a time of turmoil.

“I appreciate that. It was kinda cool,” McLaren said.

At the same meeting, Rizzo informed the team of Johnson’s hiring _ not a well-kept secret over the last three days.

“It’s an extremely positive reaction. They all know Davey, he’s been in spring training, in uniform,” Rizzo said. “They’ve interacted with him, they know his resume and just talking to him, the respect that he has in that room, even before he sets foot in there as manager, is second to none.”

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