The Braves held a press conference today to announce the long-expected elevation of John Coppolella to the general manager’s seat. As MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports, top club executives John Schuerholz and John Hart both offered high praise for the younger Coppolella, who had already been performing many traditional GM functions under Hart’s oversight. “The fans of Atlanta should be very comfortable that there is not going to be any stone that is left unturned with [Coppolella] there,” said Hart. “Brightness and creativity is one thing. But his unrelenting work ethic is something that stands out as much as anything.”
Here’s more from the NL East:
- With the Nationals expected to shift Anthony Rendon back to third base next year, the club will face a decision on fellow infielder Yunel Escobar, as Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington writes. Escobar could shift to second, where he was expected to play this season, return to his natural shortstop, or even be dealt. The Nats’ roster could be tweaked in any number of ways over the winter, but deciding upon a strategy up the middle is a clear need.
- Nationals lefty Matt Thornton just logged his tenth straight season of sixty-or-more appearances, as James Wagner of the Washington Post writes. Thornton has delivered excellent results since he was acquired via waiver claim last August. He turned 39 in the meantime, but says he has plenty of gas left in the tank. “Right now, I’m focused on finishing this year healthy and finishing strong here and looking forward to my opportunity next year and the years after that,” said Thornton. “I feel great right now. I really do. I look forward to continuing my major league career. I love this game. I love the ins and outs of it.”
- Phillies first baseman Darin Ruf has favorably impressed the organization with his play of late, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports. Manager Pete Mackanin indicated that the club was glad to be getting a look at Ruf in more regular duty, which he’s received since Ryan Howard went down. “He’s swinging the bat very well,” said Mackanin. “We’re trying to get him at-bats so we can make a decision on him for next year. He’s swinging the bat better now against right-handers and he’s just been dominant against left-handers. It’s good to see.” Ruf’s situation obviously is interwoven with that of Howard. As Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News writes, Mackanin says that the veteran slugger needs to get his legs healthy and improve his glovework at first base to command playing time next year.