The Red Sox obviously think a lot of Ron Johnson. Late last week, manager Terry Francona named RJ to his staff as a first base coach for the Sox. The Director of Player Development for Boston is Mike Hazen. In that capacity, Hazen dealt with Johnson on a daily basis and knows him quite well. He saw the way RJ handled the young prospects and dealt with the microscope that all Red Sox field personnel deal with. There’s no doubt in Hazens’ mind why Johnson was selected to take a vacancy created when Brad Mills went to Houston. “This was a very well-deserved promotion. Ron Johnson is a tireless worker and is extremely loyal.” Hazen continued- “You won’t find a more genuine human being than RJ. That quality endears him to his players and staff. As a result, his teams will always play hard for him. The guys like him. They know that it’s never about RJ. It’s about the players. He has earned everyones’ respect.” With Johnson heading 45 miles north to Fenway, the Red Sox have some big Cowboy Boots to fill. Tito Francona made certain that he promoted from within when Johnson got the call. I asked Hazen if the Sox would follow suit in replacing RJ in Pawtucket. “We always like to hire from within, but we will explore every option both inside and outside the organization.” Hazen added that it could take a few weeks to name a successor. “This is an extremely important decision for us. We’ll take some time and explore the options thoroughly. We’re not in any hurry, we just want to make the right choice.” Hazen isn’t sure who’ll occupy the office in the McCoy Stadium clubhouse, and if he has any idea about the men who’ll play for the new skipper, he was holding his cards close to his vest. “We are currently working on signing guys we think could help the organization in 2010. We are engaged in conversation with a lot of players. At this time, nothing is a done deal, so I don’t have any names for you.” Hazen has been with the Red Sox since February of 2006. Prior to that, the former All-Ivy League outfielder spent 5 years in the front ioffice for The Indians. Hazen played in the San Diego minor league system for two years.
My guess and it’s only a guess- is that former Major Leaguer Gary DiSarcina could replace RJ as manager of the PawSox. DiSarcina is currently the manager of the Lowell Spinners. DiSarcina is a Massachusetts guy. Born in Malden raised in Billerica, he attended UMass. The former All Star for the Angels once wore the #33 as a tribute to his hero, Celtics legend, Larry Bird.
Happy Thanksgiving!! Eat a lot!