Report: Brian Snitker is the favorite in Braves’ managerial search

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Brian Snitker has emerged as the favorite in the Braves’ search for a manager for the 2017 season and beyond. The Braves have also considered Bud Black and Ron Washington, as well as coaches Eddie Perez, Terry Pendleton, and Bo Porter.

Snitker, 60, took over as the Braves’ interim manager after the club fired Fredi Gonzalez. They went 9-28 (.243) under Gonzalez but 59-65 (.476) under Snitker. Snitker has been a part of the Braves’ organization in a coaching capacity since 2006, when the club brought him on board to serve as the third base coach. Prior to that, he was the manager of the Durham Bulls, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Greenville Braves, Mississippi Braves, and the Richmond Braves — all in the Braves’ minor league system.

As a minor leaguer, Snitker played in the Braves’ system from 1977-80 as a catcher and occasionally as a first baseman, batting .254 with 23 home runs and 112 RBI over 872 plate appearances.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.