ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A handful of outtakes from Davey Johnson's first day back in the manager's chair since 2000:
-- The details: Johnson, who was working as a special assistant to general manager Mike Rizzo, is signed to a consulting contract through 2013 but has agreed to manage only through the end of this season. The thinking is, if things go well, he and Rizzo will assess things and Johnson could manage in 2012 and beyond. But right now, it's just for this year for two reasons: They will see how things go and, beyond that, the Nationals must comply with the Commissioner's directive for interviewing minority candidates. In other words, they can't hire somebody long term in-season (meaning: beyond this year) without also interviewing minorities.
-- Johnson is noticeably thinner than when he managed the Dodgers (1999-2000), the Orioles (1996-1997), the Reds (1993-1995) and even the Mets (1984-1990). He's overcome health issues (a ruptured appendix that nearly killed him in 2005, and he had a catheter inserted in a vein to the heart last February to correct an arrhythmic heartbeat. That, along with taking better care of himself.
"I've had a lot better eating habits," Johnson said. "I'm a lot lighter. We have a team nutritionist. I don't expect to balloon up to 200 pounds like I did in New York and other places."
-- With Johnson managing Monday, the Nationals now have had four managers in five days: Jim Riggleman last Thursday, John McLaren on Friday, hitting coach Trent Jewett on Friday after McLaren was ejected, and Johnson on Monday. Rizzo joked that he didn't even know who managed the team after McLaren's ejection. "I think there were about three coaches running things," the GM said.
-- Another odd stat: The Nationals have had two managers resign after victories over the past five days. The Nats won Thursday, after which Riggleman quit. Then McLaren left after Sunday's win out of loyalty to Riggleman.
-- Angels manager Mike Scioscia worked with Johnson during the spring of 1999 when Scioscia was on the Dodgers' staff as the Triple-A Albuquerque manager. "He has some incredible insight," Scioscia said. "He really studies the game. He understands what's important."
-- The fact that the Nationals have won 13 of 15, and two of three since Riggleman's resignation, is something the team is carrying with pride. "It shows the character of the team," Rizzo said. "Anybody can go through the smooth and easy times. But the test of character comes with the tough times, and this team has come through that with flying colors."
-- When McLaren came into the clubhouse after managing his final game Sunday, the Nationals gave him a standing ovation.
"He's a great baseball guy," Jerry Hairston Jr. said. "We have a lot of respect for him and what he endured. People don't realize that with the manager leaves, it doesn't just affect the players. It affects the coaches. Johnny Mac has his loyalty to Riggs, and that's why he decided he needed to leave. But Mac is a tremendous baseball man."
-- Following a 4-3 loss to the Angels in his Nationals' debut, Johnson said, "It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed every minute of it. There was a little bit of everything."
He may have enjoyed it even more had he two more relievers available. Closer Drew Storen was absent, attending his grandmother's funeral in Indiana (he's expected back for Tuesday night's game here). And Tyler Clippard was unavailable because of a "tired arm."
Likes: Wow, what a performance by Jim Leyland in getting the heave-ho Monday in Detroit. The Tigers manager got a standing ovation as he left the field. Make sure you check it out here. ... Joe Torre back in the Bronx for Old-Timers' Day. ... The Dodgers may be bankrupt, but not in the hits department. They got 24 in Monday's romp in Minnesota. ... Nothing says summer like the smell of a freshly mown lawn. ... Adele's latest disc, 21. Man, that voice is smoky and soulful. ... Hot Italian pizza in Sacramento. ... The breakfast burritos and the strong, excellent coffee (and everything else) at Pipes Café in Cardiff-By-The-Sea.
Dislikes: So, what, we're going to have a team in bankruptcy every summer? The Dodgers now, the Rangers last year.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Baby I have no story to be told
"But I’ve heard one of you and I’m gonna make your head burn"
-- Adele, Rolling in the Deep