February 19, 2007

Wright And HoJo

Adam Rubin at the NY Daily News, writes about the relationship between Howard Johnson and David Wright:

David Wright still vividly recalls the message waiting for him when he turned on his cell phone after landing at LaGuardia Airport on July 21, 2004.

"Just go up there and break all my records," Howard Johnson had said on the recording. "Go for it. If somebody is going to do it, I want it to be you."

Two and a half years later, Wright is on his way to doing just that. Only now, he'll have the man he refers to as his "baseball father" in the dugout as a firsthand observer. HoJo, who served as hitting coach on Wright's Class-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton teams during consecutive years in the minors, joined the major-league staff in December as first base coach. He replaces new Nationals manager Manny Acta. Wright's endorsements to Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph helped HoJo land the position.

"Some of the messages he left me after I got the job, I had to sit down. I was struck by it, how sincere he was," Johnson said. "It's nice. You work in this game to promote guys and to help them reach their max. When they appreciate that on the reverse end, it's kind of fun."

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