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Johnson, Zimmerman back Eckstein's work

Johnson, Zimmerman back Eckstein's work

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Johnson, Zimmerman back Eckstein's work

PHILADELPHIA -- General manager Mike Rizzo told a radio station Wednesday that he has dismissed hitting coaches in the past, but he is not thinking of relieving Rick Eckstein of his duties as hitting coach -- yet.

But manager Davey Johnson reiterated that he supports Eckstein and said if the Nationals let Eckstein go, the team will have to dismiss Johnson as well. Johnson said he and Eckstein have the same hitting philosophy -- hit the ball where it is pitched.

"He is one of the most outstanding hitting instructors I've ever been around. He is conscientious, hard working," Johnson said. "If anything, he works too hard. But if you want to fire the hitting coach, you might as well fire me, because he has the same philosophy that I do."

The Nationals are near the bottom of almost every offensive category and, according to Ryan Zimmerman, Eckstein is taking it hard. But it's not Eckstein's fault that the team is not hitting.

"Rick doesn't hit. He gives us the best chance," Zimmerman said. "He is here every day doing what he is supposed to do. It's not his fault, Davey's fault or anyone's fault but the guys who go up there and hit. Rick obviously takes it harder, but we are the ones who get paid to hit, drive in runs. It's nobody's fault but ours."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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