Ron Washington named Braves third base coach, Chuck Hernandez pitching coach

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The big news out of Atlanta this morning was Brian Snitker being given the manager’s job full time, but that wasn’t the only change: the Braves hired Chuck Hernandez as their new pitching coach and ex-Rangers manager Ron Washington as their third base coach. Bo Porter, who had been the third base coach, has been reassigned to a special assistant role.

Hernandez was the pitching coach for the California Angels from 1993 through 1996, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 2004 to 2005, and the Detroit Tigers from 2006 to 2008. In the past year he has served as a minor league coordinator for the Braves. He takes over for Roger McDowell whose contract was not renewed by the Braves last week.

Washington needs no introduction. He managed the Rangers from 2007 until his resignation for personal reasons in 2014. In that time he won two pennants and posted a .521 winning percentage. He coached for the Mets early in his career and then the Athletics both before and after his time with the Rangers. Though he coached both first and third base for the A’s, he is renowned for his coaching of infielders as well.

Washington was a candidate for the managerial job Snitker was given. One has to wonder if part of the reason for him being hired by the Braves is so that he is standing by to take over if and when the Braves decide to move on from Snitker, who is only under contract through 2017 with a 2018 team option.

Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to minor league deal

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old was released by the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason.

Heyward, who was injured at times last season, put up the worst offensive numbers of his career, batting .204 and with 10 RBIs and one home run in 137 plate appearances. However, he’s a valuable defender in the outfield.

The deal reunites Heyward with first baseman Freddie Freeman. They came up through the Atlanta Braves system and have remained friends ever since.

Heyward was a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, helping them win the 2016 World Series.