KINSTON, Lenoir County - Down East Wood Ducks manager Howard Johnson told NewsChannel 12's Ariel Espstein he won't return to the team as its manager in 2018.
In his only season as manager of the new Class A minor league team of the Texas Rangers, Johnson led the team to a co-championship of the Carolina League. The team shared the title after the league canceled the rest of the postseason due to Hurricane Irma.
Epstein tweeted Johnson would be the hitting coach at Round Rock, the Texas Rangers' Triple-A minor league baseball team. He also told Epstein Spike Owen would manage the Wood Ducks in 2018 after serving as interim third base coach while Rangers coach Tony Beasley underwent chemotherapy. Owen was also manager at Hickory.
Former @GoWoodDucks manager @20Hojo sent me this statement on his time with the team as he continues with the @Rangers system with their AAA affiliate @RRExpress more coming up on @wcti12 pic.twitter.com/XG2tEFsNCZ— Ariel Epstein WCTI (@ArielEpstein) December 7, 2017
Jeremy Moore, an assistant coach with the Wood Ducks in 2017, is also departing to serve as a hitting coach in the Rookie Arizona League.
The rest of the coaching staff from 2017 will remain the same except for hitting coach, where Kenny Hook will take over, and Carlos Maldonado, who will serve as another assistant coach.
The @GoWoodDucks 2017 manager @20Hojo will not be returning to the club. He'll be the hitting coach at Round Rock in 2018. Spike Owen will manage the Wood Ducks. The rest of the coaching staff is the same except Kenny Hook is now the hitting coach. More on @wcti12 tonight.— Ariel Epstein WCTI (@ArielEpstein) December 7, 2017