Like the ever-changing rosters of minor league baseball teams, coaching staffs can also be subject to a shake up every now and then. Such is the case with the 2019 Rome Braves.
The organization announced Wednesday that Matt Tuiasosopo, a former major leaguer who last played in 2016 with the Atlanta Braves, will assume the field manager role for Rome this season, taking over for Rocket Wheeler, who is no longer with the Atlanta farm system.
Hitting coach Bobby Moore will remain with the team for the seventh straight season and 15th overall, while Kanekoa Texeira comes on as Rome’s new pitching coach after serving the same role at rookie-level Danville last season.
Dan Meyer, who had been Rome’s pitching coach the last three seasons, was announced Wednesday as the pitching coach for the Braves’ Advanced Class A team, the Florida Fire Frogs.
This will be Tuiasosopo’s first coaching job after a playing career that spanned 14 years and see time in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners (2008-2010), Detroit Tigers (2013), and the Braves as both an outfielder and infielder. He retired as a player after last season when he was with the New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
Tuiasosopo comes from a family with strong football connections. His dad, Manu Tuiasosopo, played for UCLA and later went into the NFL where he played for Seattle and San Francisco. His brothers, Marques and Zach, both played at the University of Washington with Marques currently the quarterbacks coach at the University of California.
Before signing with the Seattle Mariners, new Rome Braves manager Matt Tuiasosopo had a solid high school football career and was selected to play in the 2004 Army All-American Bowl. He had initially signed a letter of intent to play football at the University of Washington before being drafted 93rd overall by Seattle after his senior year.
Keeping with the pattern of past Rome players returning to the team as coaches, Wigberto Nevarez will join the team’s field staff this season. Nevarez was a member of Rome’s 2016 South Atlantic League Championship team and last played in 2017 with the Fire Frogs.
Former Braves minor league player Anthony Nunez was on Rome’s staff last season and was announced as the new manager of the Danville Braves on Wednesday.
Eric Hrycko joins the Rome club from the Gulf Coast League Braves as trainer, his second season in the organization, and Ryan Meehan will serve as the strength and conditioning coach.
Rome opens the 2019 season on the road at Kannapolis on April 4 before returning home to begin a seven-game homestand on April 11, beginning with Greenville.