- By David O'Brien The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Bo Porter is no longer part of the Braves organization, but he’ll be plenty busy next week when spring training begins.
Porter, a former Braves third-base coach and ex-Astros manager, will run a special spring-training camp for unsigned free agents starting next week at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The camp opens Tuesday and workouts begin Wednesday.
Porter managed the Astros for most of two seasons before he was fired in September 2014. He spent two seasons as Braves third-base coach before he was replaced by Ron Washington, with Porter becoming a special assistant to former Braves general manager John Coppolella in 2017 in the final year of Porter’s contract.
Coppolella was forced to resign after the season amid an MLB investigation that led to severe sanctions, including the loss of 13 prospects for the Braves and a lifetime ban from baseball for Coppolella.
A Braves official said Porter left the team “to pursue other opportunities.”
He’ll head up the quickly organized camp at IMG that’s expected to draw many of an unusually large number of unsigned free agents -- dozens of players, including some big names, are still without teams as spring training is set to begin Wednesday.
The first spring-training games are only two weeks away.
The free-agents camp is the first of its kind since the 1994-95 strike, when unsigned players flocked to a camp at Homestead, Fla. The IMG Academy camp is set to run through March 4, but the union has an option to extend it through March if necessary for players to find employment.
The players’ union said in a memo sent to player agents that “major-league caliber coaches and trainers” would be available at the camp.