The Braves injected some new blood into their coaching staff and made it a little younger with the hiring of former Astros manager Bo Porter as third-base coach on Friday.
Porter, 42, played for Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez when he managed the Triple-A Richmond Braves in 2002, and later served as his third-base coach in 2007-2009 in Gonzalez’s first three seasons as Marlins manager.
Porter’s firing by the Astros on Sept. 1 surprised and infuriated many in the industry, who believed he’d done a good job with the rebuilding Houston team and that the firing was solely due to personal differences with certain front-office officials.
He replaces Doug Dascenzo on the Braves staff as third-base coach and outfield/baserunning coach. Dascenzo was only on the major league staff for one season, after longtime third-base coach Brian Snitker was reassigned to Triple-A manager.
“We made the move not because Doug did a bad job; he didn’t,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Jason (Heyward) is going to win the Gold Glove in right field, like he did when Brian Snitker (was the outfield coach). We just felt like Bo would bring some experience as manager, and enthusiasm. We felt like Bo could help us.”
Dascenzo and ssistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher weren’t retained by the Braves, and hitting coach Greg Walker stepped down Monday, a day after the Braves ended a disappointing season in which they scored the second-fewest runs in the majors and hit .206 during a 7-18 September collapse.
Marquis Donnell Porter played football and baseball at the University of Iowa, and got the nickname “Bo” in reference to the famous two-sport star from Auburn, Bo Jackson. Porter, a New Jersey native, was an outfielder who played in 10 minor-league seasons with four organizations including two seasons at Richmond at the end of his playing career.
He played sparingly during parts of three seasons in the majors in 1999-2001 with the Cubs, Athletics and Rangers, batting .214 with a .284 OBP and two homers in 142 plate appearances over nine games.
Porter is known for his energy and upbeat demeanor, and seemingly everyone who played with or worked with him speaks glowingly of him.
After three seasons on Gonzalez’s Marlins staff, Porter was coaching third base for the Diamondbacks in 2010 when Arizona manager A.J. Hinch was fired at midseason. Bench coach Kirk Gibson took over as interim manager and Porter was bumped up to bench coach.
Porter interviewed to become Marlins manager after Gonzalez was fired in June 2010, but didn’t get it. Then he was a finalist for both the Marlins and Pirates managerial jobs following the 2010 season, after Porter was fired by the restructuring Diamondbacks at the end of that season. The Marlins instead removed the “interim” title from manager Edwin Rodriguez’s name, and Porter took a third-base coaching job with the Nationals in November 2010 before the Pirates concluded their interview process.
The Astros hired Porter at the end of the 2012 season, and he managed Houston’s extremely young and rebuilding team in 2013 and most of 2014 before being fired at the beginning of September, reportedly stemming from ongoing disagreements with general manager Jeff Luhnow.
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