Nationals' Manager Davey Johnson On Randy Knorr; Rafael Soriano's Outing vs Pirates

Greg Fiume

Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson got tossed from Thursday afternoon's game with the Pittsburgh Pirates, so he wasn't around when Bench Coach Randy Knorr had a tough decision to make in the ninth when Rafael Soriano struggled to throw strikes.

Davey Johnson had been ejected and though he admitted to managing from his office once before in his second career after getting tossed, he said he wasn't pulling strings behind the scenes late in yesterday's game when Bench Coach Randy Knorr made the decision to pull Washington Nationals' closer Rafael Soriano.

"I figured if you don't want to be in that mode to shut the game down, I'll bring somebody else in." - Randy Knorr on lifting Rafael Soriano

Soriano had walked two and given up an RBI double and an RBI single, turning a 7-3 lead into a 7-5 lead while throwing 25 pitches just 14 of them strikes. Knorr told reporters after last night's game he simply didn't like what he saw from the Nats' 33-year-old stopper so he brought Ian Krol on to face Pittsburgh Pirates' slugger Pedro Alvarez.

"I was watching Soriano pitch," Knorr explained after the win, "and in the past I've seen him pitch and when it's not a save opportunity he doesn't have the same effect when he's pitching. He wasn't throwing the ball over the plate and a couple of lefties were coming up and I like the way Krol throws the ball and I figured if you don't want to be in that mode to shut the game down, I'll bring somebody else in." Krol came out of the pen and allowed the two runners he inherited to score to tie it up at 7-7, but the Nationals won the game on Bryce Harper's walk-off home run in the home-half of the ninth.

Asked about Knorr's decision to take the ball from Soriano, Johnson said, "It's sometimes what you do. Go with what you're seeing."

"I think Soriano was more frustrated with the strike zone," Davey Johnson said, "that sometimes was a little inconsistent..." - Davey Johnson on Rafael Soriano vs Pirates

What Johnson saw from his office was a frustrated Rafael Soriano. "I think Soriano was more frustrated with the strike zone that sometimes was a little inconsistent," Johnson said, "but I'm sure he's been in situations like that before. It shouldn't have had that much effect on him."

Would he have lifted Soriano as Knorr did? "I don't know," the Nationals' 70-year-old skipper said. "I want to see [the ball] come out of his hand, and the way the hitter's reacting." Johnson said that he trusted his coaches' judgement. "They're good baseball men. I trust whatever they do."

Asked if he was worried about how Soriano might react to having been lifted, Johnson said, "No."

"I mean, he's a professional. Strange things happen in a baseball season. He's been hooked before. I hooked him in [Cincinnati]."

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