Your local newspaper on Friday, September 11th contained something that probably meant nothing to you but means everything to PawSox manager Ron Johnson – a Houston Astros box score.
If you look closely at the details of Houston’s 9-7 loss to Atlanta, you’ll see the following information:
C. Johnson 4 1 1 0
That would be RJ’s son Chris, who made his first major league start and went 1-for-4. His first big league hit was a single off of Atlanta’s Peter Moylan (you can watch the video here).
Chris batted .281 with 13 HR and 42 RBI for Triple-A Round Rock this year, despite being limited to 104 games by a broken hand he suffered in the first week of the season. According to the Houston Chronicle, Astros manager Cecil Cooper lobbied G.M. Ed Wade to promote Chris in September.
“Chris was not on the roster, so we had to put him on the roster,” Cooper told the Chronicle. “And that one I kind of pushed a little bit.”
According to the paper, Chris could be the Astros starting third baseman next year.
I sent RJ a congratulatory text after seeing that Chris got his first big league hit and received the following message back:
“Daphne and I are flying to Houston tomorrow for the weekend – pretty excited!”
I’m sure they’ll have a great time and by the end of the weekend, Chris could be well on his way toward shattering the Johnson family record for career hits.
RJ was 12-for-46 in his cups of coffee with the Royals and Expos.
* * * * *
I missed the PawSox season finale against Syracuse in order to broadcast the University of Cincinnati football team’s season-opening 47-15 shellacking of Rutgers, and I was sorry to hear that the Red Sox dismissed hitting coach Russ Morman after the game.
The stats obviously weren’t good this year as Pawtucket established a new franchise record for lowest team batting average at .234 and scored nearly 200 fewer runs than league-leader Durham.
But Russ didn’t coach any differently than he had the year before when the PawSox led the league in runs, home runs, and walks. He did the best he could with a young team and no one can question his dedication.
Russ has a ton of friends in baseball and I have no doubt that he’ll have another job soon. Manager Ron Johnson and pitching coach Rich Sauveur are expected to be back in Pawtucket in 2010.
* * * * *
Now that the season is over, I won’t be blogging every day, but I do plan to update “Heard it from Hoard” on a frequent basis.
If you have any questions you would like me to answer on my blog, please send them to email@example.com.