CHICAGO — General manager Mike Rizzo had to move quickly. He needed a seasoned and successful manager to run the Nationals, a promising team shocked by the abrupt resignation of Jim Riggleman.
He didn't have to look far.
Davey Johnson, who had been advising Rizzo since 2009, was the logical choice since he was already familiar with the team's operations, the players and Rizzo himself.
Johnson, 68, who led the Mets to the 1986 World Series title over the Red Sox and had managed four big-league teams, is returning to the dugout. The official announcement came Sunday.
Johnson will run the Nationals for the first time tonight when they start an interleague series against the Angels and stay on as manager through the rest of the season.
"Davey's a perfect fit for this job at this particular time," Rizzo said. "He's a guy with a track record that's beyond reproach. He knows the system, he knows the staff, he knows the major league club and he's a terrific baseball guy and a proved winning manager."
Johnson agreed to a three-year consulting contract that runs through 2013 and will help select Washington's next manager. It could be him, of course.
"It's going to be a mutual organization decision," Rizzo said. "Davey's going to do what's best for the organization and he and I will both have input in what's going on.
"This situation just emphasizes the type of team player he is. He's, in essence, dropping everything to get back in uniform to help us out."
Interim manager John McLaren, the former Rays bench coach, ran the team for the third straight game Sunday, a 2-1 victory over the White Sox. Riggleman's former bench coach finished his stint 2-1 and will be reassigned to scouting duties within the organization.
"The John McLaren era is over in Washington. Is three games an era?" McLaren said with a laugh.
Less than an hour before game time Sunday, a loud round of applause could be heard coming from the Nationals clubhouse as Rizzo thanked McLaren for filling in during a time of turmoil.
"I appreciate that. It was kinda cool," McLaren said.
JETER PROGRESSING: Yankees SS Derek Jeter could soon start a running program, a key step in his rehabilitation from a strained right calf. "Hopefully that will be (today) or the next day," Jeter said from the team's spring complex in Tampa. There is no date for when Jeter, who turned 37 Sunday, will rejoin the lineup. The Rays visit the Yankees July 7-10.
BRAVES: RHP Tommy Hanson, on the disabled list since June 17 with right shoulder tendinitis, is set to rejoin the rotation Tuesday.
PIRATES: LF Jose Tabata injured his left quadricep while beating out an infield hit in the first inning and was taken off the field on a stretcher.
RANGERS: SS Elvis Andrus was out of the lineup for a second straight day with a sprained left wrist and said he doubts he'll be ready for the series against the Astros that begins Tuesday.
RED SOX: RF J.D. Drew left in the second inning after hurting his left eye during batting practice when he fouled a pitch off his face. … RH reliever Bobby Jenks, on the disabled list since June 8 with a back injury, is expected to be activated Tuesday.
TIGERS: INF Carlos Guillen, who hasn't played a major-league game since having microfracture knee surgery in September, is set to begin a minor-league rehab assignment today at Class A Lakeland.
TWINS: C Joe Mauer, who recently returned from the disabled list, likely will start working out at first base this week. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he'd like to keep his options open with an injury-plagued lineup.
WHITE SOX: LHP John Danks went on the disabled list a day after leaving his start against the Nationals with a strained right oblique muscle. LHP Hector Santiago was called up from Double-A Birmingham.