by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Nearly 60 games through the 2013 MLB season, Davey Johnson’s Nationals are an underwhelming 29-29 and trail the NL East-leading Braves by seven games, for which the 70-year-old manager places the blame squarely on his own shoulders.

Washington made a slew of surprising roster moves on Tuesday in an apparent shakeup that involved designating Henry Rodriguez and Zach Duke for assignment, placing Danny Espinosa on the DL, and recalling Anthony Rendon to potentially permanently replace him at second base.

Coming off a 98-win season which earned the Nats their first division championship in 2012, the team, simply put, has not lived up to expectations this season, and Johnson holds himself accountable.

“I’ve been terrible,” Davey told the Junkies, when asked how he’s done managing this roster. “Horse bleep. My job is to put guys in situations where they can do well, and obviously I have not done my job because guys haven’t performed well. That’s a problem.”

While still clearly placing the onus of Washington’s sub-par performance on himself, Davey still isn’t worried about his job security or anything, in what’s supposed to be his Swan song season in the Major Leagues.

“It’s not like I haven’t been fired before,” he said. “I mean, I don’t have to agree with it, but anytime somebody doesn’t do what you know they’re capable of doing, if you don’t look in the mirror and think it’s something you do wrong, you’re crazy.”

“Davey’s worried about Social Security, not job security,” Cakes of the Junkies joked.

“Hey, I got Social Security baby,” chipper Davey reemerged. “I started taking mine a long time ago, and this month I also got to start taking money out of my IRA. If they want to fire me, I’ll be fishing somewhere.”

But Johnson bristled earlier in the interview at the idea of firing hitting coach Rick Eckstein,despite Washington’s .229 team batting average being the third worst in baseball.

“Well first of all guys, we’ve got the best hitting coach in baseball,” Johnson bucked. “And I’ll tell you what, he teaches exactly what I teach. So if you fire him, you might as well fire me.”

“He’s the hardest worker on the ball club. He takes every guy personally and he would be there 24/7 for anybody to hit. He’s very well-organized. His philosophy I agree with 1000 percent.”

Johnson expanded further on the struggles Eckstein is helping the younger hitters on the team work through.

“A lot of young guys are still learning who they are and they’ve been exposed to a lot of other hitting coaches that have given them erroneous information,” he said. “Or they think back to what their high school coach told them when they were using an aluminum bat and they only threw them outside.”

You can hear more about that philosophy below, along with Davey ragging on himself.

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