Perez to manage in Venezuelan Winter League

Perez to manage in Venezuelan Winter League

PHILADELPHIA -- After a four-year absence, Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez is preparing to return to his home country to utilize some of the managerial skills he has learned while working for Fredi Gonzalez and Hall of Famer Bobby Cox.

Though he is bothered by the fact that the Braves will not participate in this year's playoffs, Perez is looking forward to spending the next few months serving as a manager in the Venezuelan Winter League. He will serve as the skipper of Aguilas del Zulia, the club that he fervently followed during his childhood.

When Gonzalez managed this same Zulia club in 2008-09 and 2009-10, he relied on what he has learned from Cox and Royals skipper Ned Yost, the two managers who had the most significant impact on him as a player. But while serving on Gonzalez's coaching staff over the past four years, he has had a chance to gain a different perspective .

"I think I've learned a lot from Fredi," Perez said. "All I knew was Bobby Cox and Ned Yost, who learned from Bobby. I've learned so much from Fredi, a lot of things from Fredi. It's two different animals between him and Bobby. I love what Bobby did, but I really like what Fredi brings to the table to be a manager. He's really good."

While there is a chance the Braves might make changes to their coaching staff, Perez will likely continue to have a role on the staff, which he joined in 2007 when Cox was the club's manager. Over the past eight years, Perez has attempted to prepare himself to realize his goal to become a Major League manager.

Before joining the coaching ranks, Perez was best known as the guy who served as Greg Maddux's catcher more frequently than anybody else in Maddux's Hall of Fame career.

"I'm going to learn from everything I do [in Venezuela] and hopefully it will all help me to manage in the big leagues some day," Perez said.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.