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Monday, August 17, 2009

PawSox Interviews: Ron Johnson

Manager Ron Johnson, a native Californian, was a first team All American first baseman at Fresno State University. He had a brief career in the major leagues with Royals and the Expos from 1982 to 1984. He became a coach with the Royals for 6 years, after which he started his managerial career starting at the single A level, working his way up to the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox. He has been the manager of the PawSox since 2005. As manager of the PawSox, he is in good company, following the likes of Darrell Johnson, Joe Morgan, Johhny Pesky, Butch Hobson, Rico Petrocelli, and Ken Macha. I had an opportunity to ask him a few questions after the PawSox lost to Columbus on July 27th. He is an easily accessible manager, and gladly answered my questions in my first trip to a clubhouse. Despite the loss and the fact that they are under .500, he remained upbeat, as one could tell that he and his coaching staff are more concerned with the development of their players than the won-loss record that one may first notice.

Q~ Who has been your biggest surprise this season so far?
A~ That’s kind of a tough question to answer because I don’t really… I don’t think you can really go into a minor league season and actually…. Nothing comes as a real surprise unless you’ve got a guy who’s a utility infielder and at this point in the year he’s got 35 home runs, or something strange like that.

Q~ Like Bowden last year?
A~ Michael Bowden has been a prospect since the day he started so that’s not a surprise. Buchholz, the way he was, was not a surprise; Chris Johnson is a prospect. Actually, I don’t have any surprises this year.

Q~ After making the playoffs last year, and falling below .500 this year, would you say that your W-L record is not indicative of the team’s true abilities?
A~ No, I would just think that we were pretty much a different team last year, we had a more veteran club last year. We’ve got a lot of young guys, a lot of movement. To be honest with you, the won-loss record is really never …. With the Boston Red Sox, our goal is to make sure players are prepared to either cover guys when they get hurt in the big leagues, or move on and become Major Leaguers. If you can combine it with winning, that’s great as we did last year. This year, we haven’t had the top club this year… so we’ll find a way to win every night no matter what the score is.

Q~ Is there anyone at Portland or the single A teams that looking forward to get up here at Pawtucket?
A~ I’m sure they all are… we’ve got instructors with people down there. Our job is to work with these guys, and believe me, it’s consuming enough, that’s why we leave that to the bosses… and when they become Triple A we take them from there.

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