Hart named Braves' president of baseball operations

Coppolella to be 'right hand man' as part of front office reconstruction

Hart named Braves' president of baseball operations

ATLANTA -- Braves president John Schuerholz was in a jovial and upbeat mood as he sat in front of a group of reporters on Thursday afternoon at Turner Field. To his left sat his longtime friend John Hart, the man he had long hoped would lead the organization through its current reconstruction phase and into the future.

When Frank Wren was dismissed as Atlanta's general manager on Sept. 22, Schuerholz made it clear who he wanted to assume those duties. But his power of persuasion did not produce a desired effect until Monday afternoon, when Hart agreed to a three-year deal to serve as the Braves president of baseball operations.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves get their man, persuade Hart to join full time

New president of baseball operations was top candidate all along

Braves get their man, persuade Hart to join full time

ATLANTA -- When John Hart agreed to become the Braves' interim general manager in September, he was looking forward to working with team president John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox in search of the man who would eventually fill the role on a full-time basis. But it did not take long for him to realize they already knew who they wanted to assume the responsibilities.

"I had my list of great candidates for the job," Hart said. "We talked about scouting, player development, our roster, and then when I would say, 'OK, are we going to talk about the GM?' [Schuerholz] would take a break go to the bathroom and Bobby would start talking about the 1995 World Series."

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Terence Moore

John 3.0 can return Braves to glory

Schuerholz, Hart and Coppolella in perfect roles to help club rebound

John 3.0 can return Braves to glory

Step by step, the Braves of now are seeking to resurrect the team of a record 14 consecutive division titles, five National League pennants and a World Series championship. So far, so good -- at least when it comes to moves away from the playing field, and here's the latest: The new-old Braves have not one, not two, but three general managers.

OK, none is officially the Braves' general manager, but the choppers and the chanters don't care about technicalities after watching their team reach the playoffs only three times in the last nine years since its glorious run through the 1990s and beyond. Whatever works. With that in mind, the Braves are trending in a positive direction after they unofficially made a trio of Johns -- Schuerholz, Hart and Coppolella -- their three-headed general manager.

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Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Simmons, J-Up, Heyward finalists for Gold Glove Awards

Simmons, J-Up, Heyward finalists for Gold Glove Awards

ATLANTA -- When the Braves look at the positives that developed during the 2014 season, they can focus on the fact that Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward proved to be two of Major League Baseball's top defensive players.

Simmons, Heyward and Justin Upton stand as the three Braves announced as finalists at their respective positions for this year's Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, which will be presented Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves Arizona Fall League overview

Braves Arizona Fall League overview

After an All-Star first half with advanced Class A Lynchburg, outfielder Kyle Wren was promoted to Double-A Mississippi in June, reaching the level a little more than a year after the Braves drafted him in the eighth round out of Georgia Tech.

In the Southern League, Wren found much more difficult competition, especially from the relievers.

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Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Kimbrel named Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year

Braves closer led league in saves; Royals' Holland wins AL version of award

Kimbrel named Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year

ATLANTA -- While he would have much rather been participating, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel went to the World Series to be recognized as the National League's top relief pitcher.

Major League Baseball Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred presented Kimbrel with the Trevor Hoffman Award as the NL's Reliever of the Year and Royals closer Greg Holland with the Mariano Rivera Award as the American League's Reliever of the Year before the Royals and Giants played Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Hart will bring swagger to Atlanta

Hart will bring swagger to Atlanta

John Hart seemingly has it all. Great family, great golf swing, great clothes, great tan, great legacy in the front-office fraternity. And up until recently, he had great flexibility to enjoy all of these things at his own pace.

But Hart also has great baseball insight and a great competitive fire. And these are the traits his good friend John Schuerholz leveraged in convincing Hart to take on this greater role and greater challenge with the Atlanta Braves. Hart, the Braves' newly named president of baseball operations, is going to be more tied up in his work life than he's been in years, but he has an opportunity to simultaneously groom a fine young general manager candidate in John Coppolella and turn the Braves back into a World Series-caliber ballclub.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves could rebuild if they part ways with Heyward, J-Up

Corner outfielders will both be free agents at end of next season

Braves could rebuild if they part ways with Heyward, J-Up

ATLANTA -- Looking back on the disappointing season the Braves recently completed, one could argue that Jason Heyward was the club's most valuable player and Justin Upton was the most influential offensive contributor.

But with the Hot Stove season set to start in a week, there is reason to wonder whether Heyward and Upton will both be back in Atlanta for the 2015 season.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves' makeover on offense begins with hitting coach

Long, Magadan on radar to fill vacancy, but both drawing interest elsewhere

Braves' makeover on offense begins with hitting coach

ATLANTA -- Over the next few weeks and months, the Braves could make a few significant moves that would alter the makeup of an offense that spent this past season as one of the least productive since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966.

In the meantime, the Braves are continuing to consider Kevin Long, Dave Magadan and other candidates to fill the hitting-coach vacancy that was created when Greg Walker resigned on Sept. 30.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves boast connections to both World Series teams

Beloved Hudson pitching for SF; KC GM Moore came from Atlanta's organization

Braves boast connections to both World Series teams

ATLANTA -- During the 15 seasons that have passed since the city of Atlanta had the pleasure of hosting World Series games for the fifth time in a span of nine years, the Braves have proven victorious in just 13 of the 26 postseason games they have played.

At some point within the next two weeks, either the Royals or Giants will clinch the World Series with what will be their 12th postseason win this year. When this happens, Braves fans will be left to choose whether to feel good or disheartened by the fact that this year's Fall Classic will provide at least one former significant member of the Braves franchise a chance to celebrate baseball's ultimate prize.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves photographer, World War II veteran Victor dead at 97

ATLANTA -- Even as he approached his ninth decade on this Earth, Walter Victor took advantage of every opportunity he had to visit the Braves at Turner Field or during Spring Training. Victor was there the day Major League Baseball was born in Atlanta and he was there to take some of the most familiar pictures of the 1993 press-box fire at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

But Victor's heroic and memorable journey through life ended Tuesday when he passed away at the age of 97. The World War II veteran served as the Braves official photographer for more than 40 years. One of his proudest days was when the Braves named the first-base camera well after him in 2006.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Salcedo among seven Braves honing skills in AFL

Northcraft, Wren only representatives from Top 20 Prospects list

Salcedo among seven Braves honing skills in AFL

ATLANTA -- After the Braves gave Edward Salcedo a $1.6 million signing bonus before the start of the 2010 season, former general manager Frank Wren said the 18-year-old Dominican shortstop would have likely been a top-10 selection had he been eligible for the First-Year Player Draft.

Nearly five years later, Salcedo does not rank among MLB.com's Top 20 Braves prospects. But the once-heralded prospect still stands as one of the most intriguing players Atlanta has sent to compete in this year's Arizona Fall League.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves solidify numerous front-office positions

Schuerholz promotes from within, brings back familiar faces

Braves solidify numerous front-office positions

ATLANTA -- As Braves president John Schuerholz reconstructs his baseball operations staff, he has opted to bring back a couple of familiar faces to help restore order to a player development department that lacked cohesion and harmony over the past few years.

Two weeks after terminating former general manager Frank Wren, the Braves are still evaluating who will assume his role on a full-time basis. But on Tuesday afternoon, they officially confirmed that Roy Clark, Gordon Blakeley and Dave Trembley will be joining a front office that will now include Jonathan Schuerholz and a promoted Brian Bridges.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Photo: Sid Bream, Braves celebrate pennant in '92

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Photo: Sid Bream, Braves celebrate pennant in '92

22 years ago today, the Braves squared off against the Pirates in Game 7 of the NLCS. Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead into the ninth inning -- aided by an Andy Van Slyke RBI double and spectacular eight-inning effort from righty Doug Drabek. But in the bottom of the inning, things began to turn in Atlanta's favor.

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Gonzalez to remain Braves skipper; Porter hired to coach

Most of coaching staff to return next season

Gonzalez to remain Braves skipper; Porter hired to coach

ATLANTA -- Instead of making wholesale changes at the conclusion of a disappointing season, the Braves have determined manager Fredi Gonzalez will return for the 2015 season with a coaching staff that will now include former Astros manager Bo Porter.

Along with confirming Gonzalez will return to continue his role as the club's manager next year, the Braves announced Porter will replace Doug Dascenzo as third-base coach. The only other coaching changes involved hitting coach Greg Walker, who resigned earlier this week, and assistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher, who will not return to the organization next year.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Stars of tomorrow ready to shine as '14 AFL season begins

Stars of tomorrow ready to shine as '14 AFL season begins

Over its 23-year history, the Arizona Fall League has developed a reputation as a finishing school for baseball's top prospects. This year, once again, many of the game's best young players will gather in the desert, hoping to prove themselves in the same league that helped catapult Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Trout to stardom.

When the AFL opens play Tuesday, the concentration of talent will again be readily apparent. Two of the three Opening Day games feature premium pitching matchups, and the third game is highlighted by two of the best shortstops in the Minor Leagues.

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Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Blakeley's hiring gives hints to Braves' direction

Former Yankees scout tapped as special assistant to general manager

Blakeley's hiring gives hints to Braves' direction

ATLANTA -- As this past week progressed, the Braves discussed alterations to their front office and coaching staff. On Friday, former Astros manager Bo Porter was brought aboard as a third-base, outfield and baserunning coach after Atlanta confirmed the hiring of former Yankees scout Gordon Blakeley to serve as a special assistant to the general manager.

This has been a busy week for interim general manager John Hart, who met with manager Fredi Gonzalez on Wednesday morning to discuss the coaching staff and roster makeup following hitting coach Greg Walker's resignation.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Johnson Sr. among 10 finalists for '15 Frick Award

Johnson Sr. among 10 finalists for '15 Frick Award

The list of 2015 Ford C. Frick Award finalists has been narrowed to 10, with the winner set to be announced on Dec. 10 at the Winter Meetings.

The finalists are Richie Ashburn, Billy Berroa, Rene Cardenas, Dizzy Dean, Dick Enberg, Ernie Johnson Sr., Ralph Kiner, Ned Martin, Joe Nuxhall and Jack Quinlan. The award is presented annually "for excellence in baseball broadcasting" by the Hall of Fame.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Front office mainstay Martinez passes away

Special assistant to GM had been with Braves since 1995 season

ATLANTA -- The Braves lost a valuable and treasured friend when Jose Martinez suddenly passed away at an Orlando-area hospital on Wednesday night. Martinez had spent the past couple of weeks exercising his passion to help young baseball players at the Braves' Spring Training complex.

Martinez, 72, had just completed his 20th season as a special assistant to the general manager in the Braves' organization. The friendly Cuban was lured to Atlanta by Braves president John Schuerholz before the 1995 season. Schuerholz and Martinez had become associated while they were together in the Royals' organization.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Walker resigns as Braves' hitting coach

Walker resigns as Braves' hitting coach

ATLANTA -- Greg Walker certainly was not the only one responsible for the Braves' offensive struggles this year. Nor should he be held solely accountable for the difficult seasons B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla had for Atlanta over the past few seasons.

But after enduring one of the most frustrating seasons of his career, Walker has opted to resign from his role as the Braves hitting coach. Walker informed manager Fredi Gonzalez of his intention this past weekend, but the announcement was not made until Tuesday night.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves look toward busy offseason to get back in gear

Front office has decisions to make about Uptons, Gattis in trade market

Braves look toward busy offseason to get back in gear

ATLANTA -- When the Braves began locking up a number of their young players this past winter, there was reason to wonder if this upcoming offseason would be rather quiet. Many months and disappointments later, there is now reason to believe it will be anything but quiet in Atlanta.

The Braves began to alter their culture last week by relieving general manager Frank Wren from his duties. Now they have to decide whether interim GM John Hart, assistant GM John Coppolella or a to-be-determined figure will spearhead the decision-making process that will determine how different the club's roster might look next year.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Playoff aspirations not reached in disappointing season

Ineffective offense leads to Braves' sub-.500 record in 2014

Playoff aspirations not reached in disappointing season

ATLANTA -- Instead of defending a division crown like their predecessors once did on an annual basis, the Braves endured one of the most disappointing seasons in Atlanta history. This marked just the third time since 1990 that they did not post a winning record. But unlike the 2006 and '08 teams, this year's club went through most of the season with legitimate postseason aspirations.

"It is definitely a disappointing season in all of our eyes here in the clubhouse, because we're geared to win," Braves right fielder Jason Heyward said. "We want to win, and that is what this organization my whole career has been about."

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves reach agreement with Carolina Mudcats

ATLANTA -- The Carolina Mudcats will serve as the Braves' Class A Advanced Minor League affiliate beginning next season. This development was announced on Monday when it was revealed the Braves had reached a two-year agreement with Zebulon, N.C., the longtime home of the Mudcats.

Earlier this year, the Braves opted not to renew their contract with Lynchburg, Va., the home of their Class A Advanced affiliate since 2011.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves close out rough September with win in Philly

Bonifacio's leadoff homer in first sparks cast of relievers

Braves close out rough September with win in Philly

PHILADELPHIA -- Though the resulting satisfaction did not erase the effects of the misery experienced over the past few weeks, the Braves exited their most disappointing season in more than two decades with a reason to smile and look forward to next year with hope that it proves to be much different.

There wasn't much reason for optimism as the Braves entered Sunday afternoon's regular-season finale without a starting pitcher and a lineup that was absent a few regulars who opted to rest. But courtesy of a two-run first inning, they conquered an otherwise dominant Cole Hamels and claimed a 2-1 win over the Phillies.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Freeman sets Braves season record for innings played

First baseman starts all 162 games, breaks A. Jones' record

Freeman sets Braves season record for innings played

PHILADELPHIA -- As Freddie Freeman sat in the visitors' clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park following Sunday's season-ending 2-1 win over the Phillies, he proudly spoke about the record he had just set and the anguish he felt while starting every game the Braves played this season.

Freeman played in a Major League-best 1,448 2/3 innings in the field this year, breaking the franchise record (1,447 1/3 innings) Andruw Jones set in 1999. The Braves first baseman was the only National League player to start each of his team's 162 games this year.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Harang interested in returning to Braves in '15

Harang interested in returning to Braves in '15

PHILADELPHIA -- As Aaron Harang bid adieu to Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez before Sunday afternoon's regular-season finale against the Phillies, he expressed his gratitude and said that he would be interested in pitching for Atlanta again next year.

This might have seemed improbable when Harang joined the Braves during the final week of Spring Training to seemingly temporarily fill a void in an injury-depleted starting rotation. But during the six months that followed, the veteran right-hander established himself as a valuable asset in this rotation that faces some uncertainty heading into the 2015 season.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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B.J. Upton's season ends with club strikeout record

B.J. Upton's season ends with club strikeout record

PHILADELPHIA -- When the Braves gave B.J. Upton a franchise-record five-year contract two years ago, they certainly were not anticipating the possibility that he would end his career in Atlanta with a franchise record that no player strives to set.

But if the Braves do indeed part ways with Upton this offseason, the veteran outfielder will exit with the dubious distinction of having struck out more frequently than any other Braves player during a season.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Uptons lead Braves with homers, outfield assists

Brothers become first to accomplish feat to support sharp Harang

Uptons lead Braves with homers, outfield assists

PHILADELPHIA -- It is safe to say the Braves have not received near what they expected since they united the Upton brothers before the start of the 2013 season. But on the eve of what might prove to be the last day they spend together as teammates, the siblings provided a glimpse of why there was hope they would be a dynamic duo.

As Aaron Harang completed his impressive rebound season with a stellar effort in Saturday night's 4-2 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, B.J. Upton and Justin Upton shared a piece of history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they became the first brothers in the modern era to both homer and record an outfield assist in the same game.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Kimbrel's unique stance mocked by Phillies fans

Closer said he 'might have laughed' if he noticed crowd behind plate

Kimbrel's unique stance mocked by Phillies fans

PHILADELPHIA -- As Craig Kimbrel navigated his way through a stressful ninth inning during Saturday night's 4-2 win over the Phillies, he was unaware of the fact that a group of fans behind the plate at Citizens Bank Park were mimicking his unique pre-delivery stance.

Kimbrel did not learn about the humorous actions until backup catcher Gerald Laird informed him in the clubhouse after the game. Chris Johnson then provided images of the fans, who hunched and let their left arms hang in front of them, just like the dominant Braves closer does before throwing a pitch.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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