19 Oct

winds of change

Aaron Holbert is the fifth manager of the Mississippi Braves — and the first to come from outside the organization. Brian Snitker, Jeff Blauser, Phillip Wellman and Rocket Wheeler all played, coached and/or managed in the Atlanta organization before arriving in Pearl. Holbert, who had a brief major league career, came up with St. Louis as a first-round draft pick — old Smith-Wills Stadium denizens will remember him as a shortstop for the Arkansas Travelers in 1994 — and managed the last four years in the Cleveland Indians’ system. He was the Carolina League manager of the year this past season. The Braves did not announce the Double-A coaches on Tuesday but did make several other appointments. Don Long will be the new roving hitting instructor, Luis Lopez the infield instructor and Doug Dascenzo the outfield and baserunning instructor. Atlanta’s minor league operations department is under new management since mid-September, when Kurt Kemp resigned. Bruce Manno, an assistant general manager in Atlanta, took the minor league department under his wing, and Ronnie Richardson, a former Kemp assistant, became the new director of player development. Change seems to be a theme for the system, which might be a good thing for the Double-A club. The M-Braves went 61-79 (36-34 in the second half) last season under Wheeler, who will manage the rookie Gulf Coast League club in 2012. In seven years in Pearl, the M-Braves have sent 57 players to the majors but won just two (of 14 possible) half-season titles and one Southern League pennant.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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