Snitker, Pendleton among Braves' candidates

Atlanta coaches Perez, Porter also in running to be '17 manager

Snitker, Pendleton among Braves' candidates

ATLANTA -- After Brian Snitker concluded his Minor League playing career with the Braves at the end of the 1980 season, Hank Aaron, who then served as the team's farm director, gave him a job as a roving coaching instructor. Snitker has remained in the organization since, but until this past week, he had never had to go through an interview process.

Snitker's hope to have the interim tag removed from his managerial title has become more realistic as the Braves have taken a liking to his direction and have surged toward the end of the season. But before determining who will begin next season as its manager, Atlanta's front office will continue to evaluate both internal and external options.

The Braves interviewed each of their internal candidates -- Snitker, bench coach Terry Pendleton, first-base coach Eddie Perez and third-base coach Bo Porter -- over the past few days. Two or three external candidates will likely be interviewed before a decision is made.

Snitker has emerged as the early favorite, but Pendleton gave the Braves' brass something to think about as he was said to have been quite impressive during his interview.

Pendleton has been on Atlanta's coaching staff since 2002, and his association with the organization dates back to 1991, when he was named National League MVP while guiding the Braves from a worst-to-first season that concluded with a loss to the Twins in Game 7 of the World Series.

While Perez and Porter will continue to gain consideration, it appears Snitker and Pendleton stand as the most likely internal candidates to enter the 2017 season as Atlanta's manager.

Pendleton's stock has also increased as he has served as a valuable bench coach to Snitker, who had never previously managed at the Major League level before this season.

When Snitker accepted the challenge of leaving his role as Triple-A Gwinnett's manager to become Atlanta's interim manager when Fredi Gonzalez was dismissed May 17, he brought with him 20 seasons worth of experience as a Minor League manager and the knowledge he gained in three stints on Atlanta's coaching staff.

While Snitker's previous experiences strengthened his leadership skills and validated his baseball pedigree, they did not prepare him for all of the extra duties assigned to a big league manager. But over time, he became more comfortable with his daily media responsibilities and the other time-consuming elements that didn't exist at the Minor League level.

A little more than a month ago, after he had gotten the chance to become better acquainted with his surroundings, Snitker began to think he truly wanted the chance to remain a big league manager beyond this season.

Snitker's desire to stick around has been influenced by the fact he would continue to work with many of the key players who have helped the team go 57-65 during his tenure and 29-25 since the beginning of August entering Saturday's game. The Braves were 9-28 when Gonzalez was let go.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.