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Diablos manager Tim Johnson leaves team over medical condition

By Asher Wildman
Published On: Jul 01 2013 06:16:53 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 01 2013 06:31:30 PM CDT

Tim Johnson, right.

EL PASO, Texas -

Tim Johnson, manager of the El Paso Diablos will not be with the team for the rest of the season.

The team's skipper has been absent for over a month now with an undisclosed medical condition.

Monday it was announced he will not be back with the team the rest of the year. Carlos Lezcano has been named manager.

The Diablos have not had the season they dreamed of, at least not yet. This year was supposed to be different with last year's Manager of the Year, who took over for the Diablos in the middle of last season.

In that time he had a record of 41-34 and brought the Diablos in to playoff contention.

This season though the Diablos are off to a 10-34 start, and on a current nine game losing streak.

Also, the Diablos are currently 18 games behind the first place South Division leading Amarillo Sox.

Johnson's Major League Baseball career included serving as field manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998 before he was fired in March 1999 after he admitted he had falsely claimed to have served in Vietnam while in the Marines.

''I wanted to talk to them about a problem I had, guilt I had for so many years, 30 years,'' Johnson said of meeting with the Blue Jays players Tampa, Fla. in early 1999, meaning guilt he felt for never having served in Vietnam while he was in the Marines, according to a New York Times report. ''We talked about it and the response was unbelievable. I got all choked up because of the support I got from these players.''

In 2011, Johnson was involved in an unusual chain of events when he resigned in July from managing the Lake County Fielders in the North American Baseball League. In a show of support, 11 players did not play because they were upset about not being paid, according to a Chicago Sun-Times article. According to the article, Fielders hitting coach Pete LaCock, took over as interim manager. He put all listed pitchers in positional spots for the game and non-pitchers pitched. The opposing team, coached by Jose Canseco, did the same.

In 2003, the Lincoln Saltdogs came calling (Northern League/American Association, IND). Johnson took over as Manager, a position he held until 2008. While with the Saltdogs, Johnson?s career record was 314-252, and was once again awarded with Manager of the Year in 2006.

In his six seasons with Lincoln, the team made the playoffs three straight years and won the North Division each of those years. After leaving Lincoln, Johnson managed the Tucson Toros (Golden Baseball League) in 2008, and the Lake County Fielders in 2010 (North American League).

Johnson got his start in the majors when he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1967 as an undrafted free agent. He then spent seven seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Toronto Blue Jays. He got his first managerial job in 1987 in the Pioneer League.

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