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Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Davey Johnson hopes to return

ESPN.com news services

With there being a feeling of "unfinished business," Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Tuesday he'd like to return as the team's manager next season.

Johnson, 69, is not under contract with the team, but he told The Washington Post he doesn't mind waiting to sign a deal to return.

Johnson
Johnson

"Is there some unfinished business? Yeah, there's some unfinished business. But that'll be up to ownership. That ball is in their court. I don't have a bad feeling, and I don't mind waiting until November like last year," he told the newspaper.

The Nationals' season ended in historic fashion as they became the first team in baseball history to blow a lead of more than four runs en route losing a winner-take-all postseason game. Washington led the Cardinals 6-0 early in Game 5 of the National League Division Series and then 7-5 with two outs in the ninth inning before eventually losing 9-7 as closer Drew Storen failed to shut the door on the defending World Series champions.

Johnson told The Post he stood by his decision to use a starter -- Edwin Jackson -- instead of setup man Ryan Mattheus in the seventh inning when the Cardinals scored a run to pull within 6-4. Both teams scored in the eighth before the fateful ninth inning.

"Any manager in baseball, they will tell you, if you can get to your closer with a lead, you've done good. I don't give a rat's a-- what anybody else thinks. If it's a one-run lead, a two-run lead, you did it," he told the newspaper.

He said he told the players he was proud of them despite the disappointing ending to their season. The Nationals won their first NL East title since moving to Washington with a stellar 98-64 record.

Johnson told The Post that he and general manager Mike Rizzo already have talked about him returning for next season, but that the ultimate decision will be up to the team's ownership. He is under contract with the Nationals to be an adviser next season, but the deal would have to be reworked if he returns to the dugout.

"I'd like to be back. They haven't asked me my opinion," he told the newspaper. "But I have a good relationship with Rizzo and we've talked about if I come back, we've had some discussion on the coaching staff and players. I don't have a contract. I guess when they get around to it, they'll get around to it."