Washington, Hernandez join Braves' coaching staff

Washington, Hernandez join Braves' coaching staff

ATLANTA -- Ron Washington did not gain the managerial position he interviewed for in Atlanta. But the highly regarded coach and former big league skipper impressed the Braves' brass enough to earn a spot on manager Brian Snitker's big league coaching staff.

Upon announcing Snitker as their manager on Tuesday morning, the Braves revealed Washington will be their third-base coach for the upcoming season. The only other addition to the staff was Chuck Hernandez, who was promoted from Minor League pitching coordinator to fill the big league pitching-coach spot that was vacated when Roger McDowell's option for the 2017 season wasn't exercised.

Bench coach Terry Pendleton, first-base coach Eddie Perez, hitting coaches Kevin Seitzer and Jose Castro, and bullpen coach Marty Reed all had their contract options for next season exercised.

Washington will replace Bo Porter, who will stay within the organization as a special assistant to the general manager. Washington's new position as Atlanta's third-base coach is the same role he handled with the A's over the past two seasons. He has been heralded as one of the game's top infield instructors, which could prove beneficial as the Braves will soon find themselves with a young middle-infield duo in Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies.

"Wash brings incredible value to our coaching staff," Braves general manager John Coppolella said. "He [managed] the Rangers to back-to-back World Series appearances, but even more than that, he's a teacher and tireless worker who loves to make players better. This is a special man who we are lucky to have and who will help everybody in our organization."

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart was a part of Texas' front office when Washington led the Rangers to the World Series in 2010 and '11.

When the Braves announced they were going to interview external managerial candidates in Washington and Bud Black, Hart said the process can sometimes introduce you to ideas not previously considered. Such was the case with Washington, who was not necessarily a candidate for the coaching staff until he came to Atlanta and made a strong impression with his knowledge and upbeat approach.

Though the Braves plan to add a couple of veterans to their starting rotation this winter, they opted to tab Hernandez to be their new pitching coach because of the familiarity he has with some of the top pitching prospects that could reach Atlanta in the next two seasons. The club's decision to part ways with McDowell focused on their concerns about his ability to develop young pitchers.

Hernandez previously was a big league pitching coach for the Marlins (2013-15), Tigers ('06-08) and Rays ('04-05). The 55-year-old had the good fortune to work with Justin Verlander and Jose Fernandez during their respective rookie seasons. He joined the Braves last winter to fill the Minor League pitching coordinator position, which was vacated when Rich Dubee became Detroit's pitching coach.

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