“I’m enjoying being near mom and dad, and my brother and sister are down there,” Gonzalez said. “Get a chance to spend a little time with (his parents), they’re getting a little up there in age. So it’s fun, it really is.”
Gonzalez has a 710-692 record in 10 seasons as a major league manager — 434-413 with the Braves and 276-279 with the Marlins.
For the first time in more than a decade, he’s enjoying a spring training without the pressures and time demands of being the manager. Don Mattingly is Miami’s manager.
“The only guy (with the Marlins) that was there when I was there was (slugger Giancarlo) Stanton, and I only had him for three or four days before I got let go (by the Marlins in 2010),” Gonzalez said. “(Martin) Prado is there. But you know what, Donnie has made me feel really comfortable.”
Gonzalez said he’s relished the opportunity to coach again, to instruct players on a daily basis.
“I’ve got some responsibilities,” he said. “The most fun I’ve had, I’ve had fun coaching (again). It sounds kind of funny when you say that, but as manager you don’t coach. So I’ve had fun coaching, helping out with the catchers a little, do a little bit of the base running, a little bit of the pitchers bunting, that kind of stuff. That’s been really fun to do that, to get back into that swing of things.”
Snitker, 61, was promoted from Triple-A manager to serve as interim manager after Gonzalez was fired. The Braves responded so well and finished the season so impressively under Snitker — they were 50-47 in their last 97 games and won 20 of the final 30 — that he was hired on a full-time basis, getting the job over veteran managerial candidates Bud Black and Ron Washington.
“I’m glad that they did that, they did the right thing,” Snitker said. “I wish they had given him a five-year contract instead of (one year plus an option). But it really is good to see him be a big-league manager and be successful.”