In discussing the possibility of Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson winning the NL Manager of the Year Award earlier this winter, before Johnson did actually win it, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told ESPN980's Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan that the way the 70-year-old skipper related to all types of players was one of the more impressive things about the player-turned-manager, who's spent 51 of his 70 years in the game of baseball. "You've got the wily old veterans, the young players, kind of the superstar potential-type of guys," Rizzo said, "some guys that have an ego, the guys that you have to get out of [their] shell a little bit. This guy does a masterful job of motivation and he's also a terrific teacher."

When it comes to teaching, it's on the hitting end that Johnson has been especially helpful for the Nationals since he took over on the bench in June of 2011. "He's as good a hitting guy as I've ever been associated with," the Nats' General Manager said, "And he and Rick Eckstein, our hitting coach, do a marvelous job with that and just the calmness and the aura that he portrays in the dugout and in the clubhouse, on the team plane, in the hotel, it's wonderful to watch." Johnson and Eckstein are already hard at work with Denard Span as Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore wrote this morning in a post on what the Nats' manager and hitting coach have done to help the Nationals' newest outfielder at the plate.