PITTSBURGH -- When Brian Snitker received a call from Braves general manager John Coppolella early Monday morning, he simply assumed he would be told to inform one of his Triple-A Gwinnett players that he had been promoted to the big league level. But to his astonishment, he quickly learned he
PITTSBURGH -- When Brian Snitker received a call from Braves general manager John Coppolella early Monday morning, he simply assumed he would be told to inform one of his Triple-A Gwinnett players that he had been promoted to the big league level. But to his astonishment, he quickly learned he was the one receiving a quite unexpected promotion.
Upon deciding to relieve Fredi Gonzalez of his managerial duties, the Braves determined that they would be best served utilizing Snitker as interim manager over the remainder of this season. The 60-year-old suburban Atlanta resident has served as player, coach and Minor League manager in the organization dating back to 1977.
But at this stage of his career, he certainly did not anticipate gaining the opportunity to fulfill the dream of serving as a big league manager, even on an interim basis.
"It's bittersweet because Fredi's a good friend of mine," Snitker said before the Braves lost, 12-9, on Tuesday. "We went through a lot together here and he's a good man. But it's part of what we do here. It's part of the business. Unfortunately, when things go like they have been, somebody has to go. I'm excited and I'm honored John Coppolella and [Braves president of baseball operations] John Hart entrusted me with this job."
Snitker most recently served on Atlanta's coaching staff as the third-base coach from 2007-13. He became Gwinnett's manager when former Braves general manager Frank Wren hired Doug Dascenzo to serve as Gonzalez's third-base coach in 2014.
"He's somebody who can really bring back the Braves' way," Coppolella said. "He's been here for 40 years. Our whole staff has worked with him at some point. They all know him really well. We felt this was a man who could get the right message to our players and our staff at a real tough time."
The Braves will also evaluate Terry Pendleton, Eddie Perez, Mark DeRosa and others when it comes time to determine who is best suited to fill their managerial role on a long-term basis. But as they entered Tuesday with a 9-28 record, the Braves felt the current responsibilities could be best served by Snitker, who has managed 2,571 games at the Minor League level.
"It's a baseball game," Snitker said. "It's a new situation for me, obviously. It's a different flow. It will take me some time to get into the routine of what you do here because it is different. I told the players I just got to live it for a while. I'm going to sit here and watch. I want to watch the club play and then see where we go from there."
As Snitker addressed the Braves before Tuesday's game, he was comforted to look around the clubhouse and realize that he had managed more than half of the members of Atlanta's current roster at some point in the Minors.
"It made me feel relaxed and confident in what we're trying to do," Snitker said. "We've got some good players in there. We have a chance to hopefully turn the page and become a good club. That's what we're striving for."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.