Mets to name Johnson hitting coach

Howard Johnson will be named hitting coach of the New York Mets on Friday, getting the nod over Rickey Henderson, who will coach first base, baseball sources said Friday.

Ninth in the National League in runs after finishing third in the NL last season, the Mets fired hitting coach Rick Down during the All-Star break and interviewed Henderson in San Francisco this week.

General manager Omar Minaya decided Friday morning that Johnson, who managed and served as hitting instructor in the Mets organization before being named the parent club's first-base coach before the season, would be better suited to replace Down.

Henderson, who last played in 2003, retired with 3,055 hits, a .279 batting average and a .401 on-base percentage.