Staff Photo: John Bohn Gwinnett Braves General Manager North Johnson introduces Randy Ready as the new manager of the Gwinnett Braves during a press conference held at Coolray Field on Thursday.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Harkening back to his experience as a player, Randy Ready made it clear his career on the field impacts his managing and developing ability.
The new manager of the Gwinnett Braves made his first public appearance Thursday, officially buttoning up his jersey and pulling on his G-Braves hat, and it didn't take much time for the second skipper in this young organization's history to highlight his days playing in the major leagues as his biggest asset.
"I've had a lot of former players and former coaches that were very complimentary and would say, 'You're one of the guys you are supposed to emulate.' Why? Well, I had to learn every position by the book so to speak, whether it was infield play or outfield play," said Ready, who played in 13 major league seasons. "I had to be really consistent and I had to execute because I wasn't going to stay in the big leagues."
A career .259 hitter and utility infielder, Ready played for five organizations before retiring in 1995. He broke into managing in 2002 in the Tigers organization and managed eight seasons with four organizations before joining the San Diego Padres as the hitting coach and most recently held the same title with the Texas Rangers.
But when the Rangers decided not to bring Ready back, he started to eye managerial openings.
The Braves vice president and assistant general manager/player development Bruce Manno called Ready about the possibility of joining the Braves on some capacity, but it wasn't until former G-Braves manager Dave Brundage took the same position for Class AAA Lehigh Valley that a managerial position opened up.
"I think it just created an opportunity for me to come into the organization and manage at this level and get these players ready to hopefully contribute 35 miles away in Atlanta," Ready said. "I'm looking forward to this great opportunity in Gwinnett. (The Braves) have been the model of consistency over the years in our industry, which is a very small fraternity.
"It's a great opportunity here."
In his eight seasons as a minor league manager, Ready's turned in plenty of consistent seasons. His teams ended with winning records in five of those seasons, rarely slipping far from .500. He final season with Class AAA Portland was his worst at 14 games under .500. In 2007 his Class AA San Antonio team won the Texas League title and and in 2009 he was named Best Manager Prospect by Baseball America.
"I've always had the desire to manage," Ready said. "You could ask my wife, for example, and she might say 'You're such a control freak you'll be really good at it.' I don't think that's the case, but I think I have more to offer than just as the hitting coach."
Good news for the G-Braves, who haven't made the playoffs since the inaugural season in 2009 and Ready quickly tied his first charge, development, with success.
"Winning and development go hand in hand," he said. "Creating that type of (winning) environment and chemistry is No. 1. I think No. 2, I have a big emphasis on fundamentals and preparation. Not only preparing for our game here in Gwinnett, but if they have the opportunity to go and make contributions in Atlanta, (Braves manager) Fredi (Gonzalez) calls and here they go, they need to be able to step up. My job description is not only to prepare them here, but also to prepare them for the next level, the major league level.
"I am looking forward to managing."