Fired now, but Fredi Gonzalez could be the Braves manager next year

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The first thing I thought when I read that the Marlins have fired Fredi Gonzalez is that he has to be the front runner to become the Braves’ manager after Bobby Cox retires at the end of the year.

Gonzalez was the Braves’ third base coach before taking the Florida job. Last winter, when it seemed like the Marlins were jerking Gonzalez around, Bobby Cox came out in his defense, saying that his job being in jeopardy was “the biggest surprise I’ve had all season,” and praising him as being
“knowledgeable, a great communicator, disciplines well . . .”

It seemed clear to me, anyway, that he was being groomed by Cox back in the day, and though Cox has denied that he’ll take any part in naming his replacement, you have to think that his recommendations will carry an awful lot of weight for a team that loves continuity in such matters.

But even if the Braves don’t hire him, you have to think someone will.  Like Joe Girardi before him, any many who Jeff Loria sees fit to fire probably has a lot to recommend about him. 

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.