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Blakeley's hiring gives hints to Braves' direction

Former Yankees scout tapped as special assistant to general manager

ATLANTA -- As this past week progressed, the Braves discussed alterations to their front office and coaching staff. On Friday, former Astros manager Bo Porter was brought aboard as a third-base, outfield and baserunning coach after Atlanta confirmed the hiring of former Yankees scout Gordon Blakeley to serve as a special assistant to the general manager.

This has been a busy week for interim general manager John Hart, who met with manager Fredi Gonzalez on Wednesday morning to discuss the coaching staff and roster makeup following hitting coach Greg Walker's resignation.

Given that the Braves have not yet hired a permanent GM to fill the role vacated by the recently dismissed Frank Wren, it remains to be seen who will serve as Blakeley's boss. But Blakeley's addition confirms that assistant GM John Coppolella does have some additional power in this new front-office makeup.

Dating back to their days together in the Yankees' organization, Blakeley has stood as a mentor to Coppolella. Now the veteran scout will have a chance to work with his prized pupil, and more important, attempt to help the Braves on the international front as much as he did the Yankees. Robinson Cano, Jose Contreras and Orlando Hernandez are among the players he was credited for signing while he was with the Yankees.

While Hart has taken on an active role over the past couple weeks, there still has not been clear indication that he wants to fill the GM role on a permanent basis. Thus there will continue to be speculation about the potential return of Royals GM Dayton Moore, who seemed to be an obvious candidate even before Wren was dismissed. But with the Royals still in the playoffs, Moore's focus is currently elsewhere.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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