Braves plan to interview Ron Washington, Bud Black for their managerial “opening”

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It was reported today that the Atlanta Braves plan to interview former major league managers Bud Black and Ron Washington for their managerial opening.

Or, should I say, “opening.” There is technically one, as Brian Snitker was named the interim manager after taking over for the fired Fredi Gonzalez back in May. But he went a long way toward making himself a strong candidate after finishing strong, going a 50-50 over their final 100 games, and showing a marked improvement in all facets of the game. They were 9-28 when Snitker took over. Team president John Hart and general manager John Coppolella both said today that Snitker is in the running to keep his job. Indeed, Snitker was at the media session today when they said it. If he wasn’t being seriously considered, he wouldn’t be there.

That said, Black and Washington are two strong candidates and are worth checking in on. Each have had great success at the helm of the Padres and Rangers, respectively, with Black being credited for doing far more with what he was given than many thought he should’ve done and Washington, obviously, winning two pennants with the Rangers. Each would be good choices for the Braves who have, for almost 30 years, have more or less had the same managerial philosophy by virtue of Bobby Cox’ long tenure followed by two men in Gonzalez and Snitker who came to prominence under Cox’s wing.

Still, I predict that Snitker will get the job on a permanent basis following the interviews. His success this year was undeniable and he deserves a chance to take this team to spring training and into a full season. I suspect that his leash may be a bit shorter than a lot of managers’ leashes might be and that, eventually, when the Braves are closer to playoff contention, they will make a move for a manager with more high-level experience. Based on Snitker’s comments today, if and when that were to happen, he would happily return to another role in the organization.

In the meantime, there is no downside to giving Snitker the job based on the good job he has done.

Astros star Altuve has surgery on broken thumb, a WBC injury

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Houston Astros star Jose Altuve had surgery Wednesday on his broken right thumb, an injury that occurred in the World Baseball Classic and will significantly delay the second baseman’s 2023 debut.

The Astros announced that the 32-year-old Altuve had the procedure done in Houston and will stay there to begin his rehabilitation, with only one week left in spring training. The Astros will fly there on Sunday following their final Grapefruit League game in Florida, before playing a pair of exhibitions against their Triple-A team, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, in Texas.

Altuve was hit by a pitch on Saturday while playing for Venezuela in the WBC. He might not be ready to return to the lineup until at least late May. The eight-time All-Star and 2017 American League MVP batted .300 with 103 runs, 28 homers and 18 steals for the World Series champion Astros last season. Mauricio Dubón and David Hensley are the leading candidates to fill in for Altuve at second base.

Altuve isn’t the only Major League Baseball star who was hurt in WBC play, of course. Mets closer Edwin Díaz will miss the 2023 season because of a torn patellar tendon in his right knee as the freak result of an on-field celebration following a WBC win by the Puerto Rico national team.


The Astros also scratched right-hander Hunter Brown from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Manager Dusty Baker told reporters that Brown, who is ranked by MLB as the organization’s top prospect and competing for the last spot in the rotation, has discomfort in his lower back.


The New York Mets sent catcher Francisco Álvarez to Triple-A Syracuse, quashing for now the possibility of putting the prized 21-year-old on the opening day roster.

Álvarez, who made his major league debut with the Mets near the end of last season, had just three hits in 28 at-bats in Grapefruit League exhibition games. Ranked by MLB as the third-best prospect in baseball, Álvarez batted .260 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in a combined 112 minor league games in 2022 at Double-A and Triple-A.

The Mets have newcomer Omar Narváez, a 2021 All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers, as their primary catcher with Tomás Nido likely to play mostly against left-handed pitchers.

Speaking of the Mets, Díaz turned 29 on Wednesday – a rather subdued milestone for the right-hander considering his situation. Diaz nonetheless posted in Spanish an upbeat message on his Twitter account, thanking God for another year of life and describing his health as good and his outlook as positive in this initial stage of the roughly eight-month rehabilitation process.