Johnson reflects on past year with Nationals

Johnson reflects on past year with Nationals

BALTIMORE -- A year ago on Saturday, Jim Riggleman resigned as manager of the Nationals, paving the way for Davey Johnson to return to the dugout after an 11-year hiatus.

Riggleman resigned on June 23 due to a contract dispute with general manager Mike Rizzo, leaving the team with a 38-37 record -- the latest point in the season since 2005 the Nationals were over .500. After John McLaren managed on an interim basis for three games, Johnson finished out the season with a 40-43 record.

"It feels like about a month or so," Johnson said when asked how long it feels like since he's been back as a manager. "When you're back in baseball, it doesn't leave you. You think about it year-round, offseason. One day runs into the other."

This season, Johnson has the Nationals leading the National League East with a 40-28 record, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Mets entering Saturday. Though it may be tempting to look ahead to the postseason and what would be the franchise's first playoff berth since moving to Washington in 2005, Johnson insisted he's maintaining a day-at-a-time mentality.

"All of the questions I've ever had from anybody is, 'What about a guy's next start?' Or, 'What about three days from now?' And my answer has always been, 'I put all of my energy on today, with an eye on tomorrow,'" Johnson said. "That doesn't go any farther than that, and that's the way I basically live my life.

"I'm very comfortable living in the short term," he continued. "I think I'm lucky to be here as I am here now, with all that's happened to me. I've had a very fun life, very exciting, in baseball, with the Olympics, the World Cups, the World Baseball Classic, some great teams. This is my fifth Major League team, I've enjoyed every minute of every situation I've been in, and for me to think about what challenges I'm going to face six months from now is a useless exercise. Why go there? Who cares?"