The Atlanta Braves announced their 2014 minor league coaching staffs today, including five managers returning for the upcoming season. In addition to the returning managers, former Major League third base coach Brian Snitker returns to a managerial role in 2014 with the organization's Triple-A affiliate Gwinnett Braves, as previously announced.
Brian Snitker, who completed his seventh season as the Braves third base coach in 2013, last managed at the minor league level in 2006 when he skippered Atlanta's Triple-A affiliate in Richmond, Va. Previous to that, Snitker spent four seasons managing the Braves Double-A affiliate from 2002 to 2005. Snitker, 57, was named to his first managerial position in 1982 with Anderson of the South Atlantic League and in his 17 seasons as a minor league manager, has compiled an overall record of 1,140-1,145 (.499). Pitching coach Marty Reed will serve his fourth season with Gwinnett, while Garey Ingram will be in his first season as the hitting coach after spending the previous four seasons in the same role with the organization's Double-A club. Trainer Mike Graus will be entering his 22nd season with the Braves and his ninth with the Triple-A Club.
Aaron Holbert returns to skipper the Mississippi Braves (AA) for his third consecutive season, while pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn will serve as the Double-A pitching coach for his second straight season and trainer Ricky Alcantara is returning for his seventh campaign. New to the Double-A coaching staff in 2014 is hitting coach Jamie Dismuke. Dismuke comes to Mississippi after spending the previous five seasons as the club's Triple-A hitting coach.
Luis Salazar will serve his fourth season as manager for the Lynchburg Hillcats (A) and his 12th season overall as a minor league manager. Also returning to Lynchburgs' staff is hitting coach John Moses, who is in his second season with the club after joining the organization in January 2013, while trainer Joe Toenjes returns for his second consecutive year in his fifth season overall as a trainer for the Braves. The Hillcats welcome pitching coach Derrick Lewis, who is in his 11th season with the Braves, to their staff after spending the previous three seasons as the Rome Braves pitching coach.
The Rome (A) Braves will feature a new manager and one new coach, as Jonathan Schuerholz will be at the helm for the club, while Gabe Luckert will serve his first season as the pitching coach. Schuerholz, who is in his fourth season as a minor league manager and his fifth overall with the organization, spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as skipper of the Danville Braves. Luckert joins the Rome staff from the Danville Braves where he spent the previous four seasons as pitching coach. Returning to the Rome staff for his second consecutive season is hitting coach Bobby Moore. In his fourth season as a trainer in the organization, Kyle Damschroeder returns for his second consecutive campaign with Rome.
The Danville (Rookie) Braves will feature a new manager and two new coaches, as Randy Ingle will be at the helm for the D-Braves in his second stint with the club after leading the team during the 2011 season. Ingle, who will be in his 23rd season as a manager in the Braves organization, is taking on a dual role in 2014 as the D-Braves manager and as a development assistant. Prior to the start of the Danville season, Ingle will visit the Braves minor league locations and work as a development instructor. Also new to the Danville coaching staff is pitching coach Dan Meyer, who will be in his first season as a professional coach, and hitting coach Carlos Mendez, who is in his seventh year as a coach in the Braves organization and his second stint with Danville. Meyer, a former left-handed pitcher, appeared in two games for the Braves in 2004 and owns a career record of 3-9 with a 5.46 ERA over 103 big league games spanning five seasons (2004-10). Mendez spent the 2013 season as the hitting coach for the Gulf Coast League Braves. In his second season in the organization, trainer Joe Luat, returns to for his second season at the D-Braves trainer.
Ralph "Rocket" Wheeler will be in his third season as the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) Braves Manager, and his 12th season overall as a skipper in the organization. The GCL Braves will return their pitching coach, as Willian Martinez serves his second season with the club. Rick Albert, who has been a staple in the organization since 1972, joins the GCL staff as their hitting coach after spending the previous two seasons in the same role with the Danville Braves. Julio Hernandez will serve as the trainer in his second year with the organization. In addition to his training duties, Hernandez will also serve as the medical operations assistant for the Braves minor league teams.
Also returning to the Braves minor league staff is Derek Botelho, who takes on a new role in 2014 as the minor league pitching rehabilitation instructor. Botelho is based out of the team facility located in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and will work with minor league pitchers who are on rehabilitation assignment.
Dave Bialas, a 42-year veteran of professional baseball who joined the organization in November 2012, returns for his second season as the minor league field coordinator. Joe Breeden returns for his seventh season to the role of minor league catching instructor, while Luis Lopez will be in his third season as the minor league roving infield instructor.
Previously announced, Rich Dubee will be in his first season as the Minor League Pitching Coordinator, while Ronnie Ortegon was named Minor League Hitting Coordinator and Bobby Mitchell was named as Minor League Roving Outfield/Baserunning Instructor.
In addition, Rick Slate and James Gonzalez will return to their respective positions for the upcoming season as Director of Strength and Conditioning and Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coordinator.
Lee Elia, who has spent more than 50 years in professional baseball, returns as a Special Assistant to Player Development for his third consecutive season.