In conjunction with the Atlanta Braves, the Rome Braves announced its 2020 field staff earlier today. Manager Matt Tuiasosopo returns to the Single-A Braves for his second season leading the Rome club along with pitching coach Kanekoa Texeira, coach Wigberto “Wiggy” Nevarez and strength coach Ryan Meehan. They’ll be joined by a new hitting coach in Mike Bard and new athletic trainer Koji Kanemura.
Tuiasosopo made his coaching debut in 2019 as manager for the Rome Braves after retiring from playing following the 2018 season. In his first season as manager, Tuiasosopo led the Single-A Braves to an overall record of 65-74. The Washington native spent time in the big leagues with three different teams and made his major league debut on September 5, 2008, with the Seattle Mariners where he played through the 2010 season. The utility player also played with the Detroit Tigers (2013) and Atlanta Braves (2016).
Texeira returns to Rome for his second season as Rome’s pitching coach and his fourth season as a professional pitching coach in 2020. Prior to joining Rome last season, Texeira spent the previous two seasons at Rookie-Danville after retiring from his professional playing career following the 2016 season. The Hawaii native was a part of six different organizations (Chicago [AL], New York [AL], Seattle, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Atlanta) over a 10-year playing career that included 49 appearances (2010-11) at the Major League level.
Bard joins Rome for his first season as hitting coach for the Single-A Braves and his first season with the Atlanta Braves organization in 2020. The Colorado native has spent many years as a private baseball hitting instructor and has more than a decade of NCAA Division I coaching experience. His college coaching stints include time at the University of Kansas, Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Arlington and Dallas Baptist University. Bard also spent the 2007 season as Assistant Hitting Coach for the Colorado Rockies.
Nevarez returns to Rome for his second season in 2020 and his third season among the Braves minor league field staffs after spending the 2018 season with the GCL Braves. As a player, Nevarez was a member of the 2016 South Atlantic League Championship-winning Rome Braves, and he also played for Rome during the 2015 season. The Puerto Rico native was originally selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 20th round of the 2014 draft out of Lubbock Christian University.
Kanemura joins Rome for his first season as athletic trainer for the Single-A Braves and his second season with the Atlanta Braves organization. He spent the 2019 season at Rookie-Danville. Before joining the Braves organization, Kanemura spent two seasons (2017-18) with the Johnson City Cardinals in the Appalachian League and one season (2016) with the GCL Cardinals.
Meehan also returns for his second season as strength coach in Rome and with the Atlanta Braves organization in 2020. He received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the University of Mississippi, and his master’s degree in exercise physiology from Kennesaw State University.
The upcoming 2020 season marks the Rome Braves 18th season at State Mutual Stadium. The Single-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves begins the season Thursday, April 9 with a seven-game homestand against Hagerstown and Greenville. The Braves also host the 2020 South Atlantic League All-Star Game Tuesday, June 23.
Businesses looking for unique ways to advertise should explore opportunities with the Rome Braves. For more information, call 706-378-5100 or stop by the Rome Braves Front Office Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Full season ticket packages along with mini ticket plans are on sale now by calling 706-378-5144 or visiting us online at RomeBraves.com. Individual game tickets will go on sale at a later date.