There was barely time to speculate about potential changes before Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Thursday that his entire coaching staff would return.
Only 12 hours after his team’s season – and its playoff hopes — ended abruptly with a 13-inning loss to Philadelphia, Gonzalez said he has asked back all his coaches for 2012.
“Everybody is coming back,” said Gonzalez, whose Braves went 9-18 in September and lost their last five to finish one game behind St. Louis in the wild-card standings. “I invited them back and they all accepted, which is good. We’ve got a good staff.”
Some figured that first-year hitting coach Larry Parrish might be fired in light of the Braves’ dismal hitting in September and lackluster offensive performance throughout a season that ended badly. Often teams in similar situations sometimes fire a coach to send a message.
“I don’t believe in that,” Gonzalez said. “I think if you hire people, let them do their job. If they’re organized, detailed, and they work… You’re right, it’s easy to fire somebody and throw somebody to the wolves. That’s not the way I work.
“You want coaches to be able to come in here and work in a good environment and not be looking over their shoulders worried about that kind of stuff.”
Atlanta ranked 26th in the major leagues in batting average (.243) and on-base percentage (.308), after finishing fourth in the majors in OBP (.339) in 2010 under former hitting coach Terry Pendleton, who now serves as first-base coach and infield instructor.
The Braves hit .205 with 31 runs while going 3-9 in their last 12 games, and had a .195 average with runners in scoring position for the month of September.
“I’m sure that L.P. [Parrish] will sit back and evaluate some things, maybe do some things different, like we all will,” Gonzalez said.
Parrish and bench coach Carlos Tosca were the only new coaches hired last fall after Gonzalez signed a three-year contract to replace retired manager Bobby Cox.
Still on the staff from the Cox regime are pitching coach Roger McDowell, Pendleton (switched to first-base coach last fall), third-base coach Brian Snitker and bullpen coach Eddie Perez.