Brundage puts Gwinnett Braves coaching staff in place

After just digging out from a freak Oregon snowstorm that buried his home outside Portland, Dave Brundage was more than happy to talk a little baseball on Monday.

The start of the Gwinnett Braves' first season is less than 100 days away and the manager now officially has his Class AAA coaching staff in place.

The parent Atlanta Braves announced that Jamie Dismuke will be the International League team's hitting coach, while Derek Botelho will serve as the pitching coach.

"I'm excited about working with both of them and really looking forward to spring training," Brundage said. "It sure beats shoveling snow. We must have about two feet and we've never had that before around here."

Neither of the coaches was with Brundage last season at Richmond. Dismuke, a veteran of the Cincinnati organization, finished last season as the interim manager of Chattanooga in the Southern League. Bothelo was the pitching coach for Mississippi in that Class AA circuit.

"It's good to have different people and new ideas," Brundage said. "I think it makes everyone better. I really enjoyed working with my coaches last year, but this should be good, too. It's a good staff."

Botelho, 51, moves up to replace Guy Hansen after tutoring a Mississippi pitching staff that was the key to a Southern League championship. Hansen will be the pitching coach at Myrtle Beach in the Class A Carolina League.

Dismuke, 39, replaces former major leaguer Chris Chambliss as hitting coach. Chambliss was named manager at Class AAA Charlotte by the Chicago White Sox, making for an interesting opening day for Brundage.

The Gwinnett Braves' first game is April 9 at Charlotte. "I guess I'll have to change my signs," Brundage said.

Botelho, who pitched briefly in the majors with Kansas City and the Chicago Cubs, has been in the Braves organization since 2003 after 12 seasons as a coach in the Reds system.

Dismuke, a former minor league first baseman, coached in the Cincinnati organization for nine seasons after putting in nine years as a player.

Brundage, 44, led Richmond to the 2007 Governors' Cup Championship in his first year managing in the Atlanta organization after having success in the Seattle system. Hard hit by call-ups and injuries, Richmond struggled last season in Brundage's second year.

The longest tenured member of the Gwinnett Braves dugout staff will be athletic trainer Mike Graus. He is entering his 17th season in the Atlanta organization.

"I'm really looking forward to our first season in Gwinnett and excited about the team we should have," Brundage said. "There are a lot of good young pitchers in the organization and some of them will be coming up from Mississippi."

The Gwinnett Braves are expected to conclude spring training in Florida on April 5 and hold a few practices at their new stadium before opening the International League season on the road. The home opener is April 17 against Norfolk.

"I hope we can get on the field a couple of times," said Brundage, encouraged to hear that construction of the Gwinnett ballpark is on schedule. "I'm sure that everyone will be excited to see the stadium. It's supposed to be great."

The only disappointment for Brundage is that it doesn't look like he'll have his family with him when Gwinnett starts its first season. He had hoped to move from Oregon to Georgia.

"Our house has been on the market for a while and it hasn't sold," Brundage said. "It looks like we'll have to wait until the economy and housing market get better. I'm sure a lot of people are in the same boat."

SideBar: Gwinnett Braves staff

Name: Dave Brundage

Position: Manager

Age: 44

Home: Portland, Ore.

Background: Former minor league player. . . . Led Richmond to the International League Governors' Cup championship in 2007 in his first season with the Atlanta organization. . . . He formerly managed in the Seattle system, winning two Texas League titles in Class AA.

Name: Derek Bothelo

Position: Pitching coach

Age: 51

Home: Burlington, Iowa

Background: Spent last two seasons coaching at Class AA Mississippi, working with top prospects like Tommy Hanson, Kris Medlen and Todd Redmond. . . . Pitched in majors with Kansas City (1982) and the Chicago Cubs (1985). . . . Joined Atlanta organization in 2003.

Name: Jamie Dismuke

Position: Hitting coach

Age: 39

Home: Syracuse, N.Y.

Background: Former minor league first baseman. . . . Finished last season as interim manager of Class AA Chattanooga in the Cincinnati organization. . . . He replaces Chris Chambliss, who left the Atlanta organization to become manager at Charlotte.

Name: Mike Graus

Position: Athletic trainer

Age: 39

Home: Marietta

Background: Has spent 16 years in the Atlanta organization. . . . Was with Richmond the past three seasons. . . . He has degrees from the University of Nebraska and Alabama-Birmingham.