Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Reds' Johnson: A Medic as Much as a Manager

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Reds' Johnson: A Medic as Much as a Manager

Article excerpt

Given the cowardly way in which the Cincinnati Reds disposed of manager Tony Perez early this season - general manager Jim Bowden fired him over the telephone - it has been hard to empathize with successor Davey Johnson.

But as the Reds have suffered more injuries and furthered the science of losing, it has become impossible not to have some pity for the manager who must have each defeat assigned to his baseball record, who must live this daily baseball malaise.

Johnson, the manager of the 1986 World Series-champion New York Mets, is not one of those guys for whom you instinctively root. Perez was. But neither is it Johnson's fault that the lineup has been patchwork, or that he inherited some misguided baseball souls.

The Reds, who open a three-game series with the Cardinals with a doubleheader today, have used the disabled list 18 times for 15 players (three players have been on it twice); and they have used the DL 14 times since May 24, the day on which Bowden fired Perez.

So Johnson has been a lay medic as much as a manager this season. He is making do without his shortstop, center fielder, second baseman, two starting pitchers, and often hasn't had left fielder Kevin Mitchell, who has been in and out of the lineup with assorted ailments.

The pains may even be catching.

"Somebody gets a bad back, mine hurts," Johnson said, smiling. "Somebody gets a bad knee, mine hurts. And I've always got a headache. I think it's this team."

And that was before Johnson was taken to a Cincinnati hospital Saturday night after complaining of dizziness and blurred vision.

Suffice it to say that the Reds' season is in complete contrast from the Mets' in 1986.

"Everything went right that year," Johnson recalled. "But we probably won't have one injury next year. That's the way it goes - in cycles."

This year's injury cycle accelerated the downward spiral and has resulted in some horrible defense, some cover the women and children's eyes defense. …

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