Manager one win away from 1,400

Augusta GreenJackets manager Dave Machemer didn't have much of a choice when it came to playing baseball as a kid.


"I've been a baseball guy I guess since I was born," he said. "My dad and my granddad put a glove in my hand when I was two."

After 11 minor league seasons as a player and a few short stints in the big leagues, Machemer stepped away from the game to be a family man. But the sport drew him back in when the Milwaukee Brewers called in 1985 needing a minor league manager.

Two and a half decades later, Machemer's career has brought him to Augusta, where he'll enter this week's eight-game homestand needing only one more victory to his 1,400th career win as a minor league manager.

"Ever since the Brewers called, I knew what I wanted to do, and there's nothing else I want to do," he said. "Going into an office every day is good for some people, but it isn't for me. There's always something new out here. It's never boring."

The 59-year-old manager said he has as many nearly losses as wins as a manager. His career winning percentage is above the .500 mark, but Machemer said the wins aren't as important to him as seeing ballplayers he's coached move on to bigger stages.

The list of prospects who have played for Machemer includes Gary Sheffield , Greg Vaughn , B.J. Surhoff and, more recently, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey .

"I've had some good years and had some lean years, but winning and losing -- that's not what it's all about in the minors," Machemer said. "It's about player development, and that's why I do it."

In his first year in Augusta last season, Machemer led the team to the best overall record in the South Atlantic League's Southern Division. This year's team also owns the best overall mark in the division at 53-41.

GIANT RELIEF: GreenJackets pitcher Zack Wheeler continued his slow but steady recovery last week with a pair of relief appearances.

San Francisco's first-round draft pick threw one inning each in two outings against the Charleston RiverDogs. He allowed one hit in the two innings of work, struck out three and walked none.

"He threw tremendous the other night," Machemer said. "We're thrilled about his progress so far."

Machemer said the Giants have limited Wheeler to one inning of work per outing to ensure they don't overwork the 20-year-old pitcher, who spent more than six weeks on the disabled list earlier this season with a torn fingernail on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

JOSEPH OUT: While the Giants' No. 1 pick will remain locked into limited action from the bullpen, the organization's second-round pick from 2009 will most likely miss at least the first part of this week's homestand.

Tommy Joseph was pulled from Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, and Machemer said the 20-year-old catcher could sit out early in the week while back- ups Hector Sanchez and Eliezer Zambrano step in.