Sports

GreenJackets name coaching staff for 2024 season

NORTH AUGUSTA – The Augusta GreenJackets will be led by a new manager this season as Wynston Sawyer takes the helm.

He’ll be joined by Einar Diaz as hitting coach, Connor Justus as a coach, Tom Adams as the athletic trainer, and strength coach Jake Wynn as first-year members on the staff. Elvin Nina returns to the team as the pitching coach, according to a news release from the Augusta GreenJackets.

First-time Skipper, Wynston Sawyer, is in his fourth season being a part of the Braves Minor League Coaching staff. He spent 2023 with the rookie-level FCL Braves as a coach, the team going 30-24 clinching the Wild Card spot and winning the FCL Championship. Sawyer, originally from San Diego, Calif., spent 10 seasons in the minor league system. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles (2010) in the eighth round and continued his career with Los Angeles and Minnesota.

“Baseball season is right around the corner, and I look forward to managing the Augusta GreenJackets and representing the Atlanta Braves organization,” said Sawyer, in the release. “I am excited to call SRP Park home this upcoming season and meet all our great fans who come out to support our players and staff.”

Einar Diaz has spent the last few years with the Braves as a hitting coach for Gwinnett (2019), Mississippi (2021) and the FCL Braves (2022-2023). The Panama native made his MLB debut with the Cleveland Indians back in 1996, playing sparingly until 1998. In 1999, he got his first starting job with the Indians and became the primary starting catcher for Cleveland from 2001-2002.

Diaz also saw playing time with the Texas Rangers (2003), Montreal Expos (2004), the St. Louis Cardinals (2005), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2006). Following his retirement, Diaz coached for the Baltimore Orioles minor league system before joining the Braves in 2019. 

Elvin Nina returns to Augusta as the pitching coach after spending the last two seasons with the rookie-level FCL Braves. Nina was last at SRP Park during the 2021 GreenJackets season, the first year as a Braves Affiliate. Nina was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 1997 and spent seven seasons at the Triple-A level. Nina began his coaching career in 2009 with the Helena Brewers (2009-2013), Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (2014), and the GCL Pirates (2015-2017, 2019).

Connor Justus, a Cartersville, Ga. native, joins as a coach for the 2024 season. Justus was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in 2016, coming from the Georgia Institute of Technology out of Atlanta. Justus spent his minor league baseball career in the Angels’ system from 2016 – 2019. From 2021 season, Justus was signed on with the Miami Marlins, joining the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA) and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (AAA).

Coming from the 2023 FCL Braves staff, Tom Adams will be the GreenJackets athletic trainer. Jake Wynn joins as the strength coach, coming from Stony Brook University in New York.

The Augusta GreenJackets saw success off the field ranking #4 in Single A in attendance (out of 30) and set a franchise record in attendance by averaging 4,196 fans per game. SRP Park welcomes over 300,000 fans through the gates annually between GreenJackets Baseball and Special Events, which includes the upcoming SRP Park High School Baseball Showcase presented by TaxSlayer, the Spring Wing & Food Truck Festival, the Augusta Craft Beer Festival and more.

The Augusta GreenJackets are the Single-A affiliate Atlanta Braves. 2024 Augusta GreenJackets Full, Half and 20-game season seat memberships are on sale now. To learn more about the benefits and to lock in your seat to cheer on the Braves of tomorrow, visit www.gjmembers.com or call (803) 349-WINS (9467). 

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