Veteran Express manager will have new hitting, pitching coaches

4:35 p.m Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 Sports
Howard Johnson, who had a lot of big years at the plate for the New York Mets, is the new Round Rock Express hitting coach. CREDIT: Elsa/Getty Images

Jason Wood will return for his fourth year managing the Round Rock Express, but he’ll break in a new hitting and pitching coach.

Howard Johnson, a popular third baseman with the New York Mets for nine years, is the new hitting coach. He replaced Jim Presley, who is no longer with the Texas Rangers organization.

Brian Shouse, who had a 10-year major-league career as a left-handed reliever, takes over pitching duties. Greg Hibbard, last year’s Express pitching coach, is trading duties with Shouse, who worked with the Double-A Frisco staff in 2016.

Johnson, 57, has enjoyed success the past two years as a Rangers’ Single-A manager. He directed High Desert to the 2016 California League championship and then led Down East to a Carolina League co-title in a Hurricane Irma-shortened season.

HoJo, as he was called in his playing days, was a two-time All-Star who hit 228 home runs, including a five-year stretch with the Mets where he pounded 157 long balls and drove 473 runs.

Shouse, 49, pitched with the Rangers from 2003-06 and had a 3.72 ERA over 467 MLB appearances. He’s been in Frisco the last two years.

Wood, 47, has a 215-210 record in Round Rock and has five playoff trips in seven years as a manager in the Rangers system, although just one postseason bid in three years with the Express.

Returning with Wood are bench coach Geno Petralli, trainer Carlos Olivas and strength coach Eric McMahon.

Round Rock opens the season Thursday, April 5, at home against Memphis. Season tickets and flex plans are on sale now.