GreenJackets' Kelly to return

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The Augusta GreenJackets are expected to announce today that Roberto Kelly, who led the minor league baseball team to the South Atlantic League Championship Series last season, will return for a third season as manager.

Manager Roberto Kelly (center) led the Augusta GreenJackets to the South Atlantic League Championship Series last season.  Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Manager Roberto Kelly (center) led the Augusta GreenJackets to the South Atlantic League Championship Series last season.

Kelly, a former major league all-star, will return with his coaching staff from last season, including hitting coach Andy Skeels, pitching coach Ross Grimsley and trainer Dustin Luepker

"I'm very excited to have Ro-berto return for the upcoming season," GreenJackets general manager Nick Brown said. "He led the team to an outstanding season last year and was a wonderful asset to the community. We look forward to Roberto continuing to be successful on and off the field in 2007."

In two seasons with Augusta, Kelly has posted a 169-106 record in the regular season, including a record-breaking 92-47 mark last season. He was named the 2006 South Atlantic League Manager of the Year after winning more games (92) than any other team in minor league baseball.

Last season also included a 53-16 second-half record and a Southern Division championship.

Kelly has won with a "small ball" approach that emphasizes speed and contact hitting over power. He also has seen success despite not having a lot of highly- regarded prospects.

Kelly, 42, played with eight different teams in the majors during his career, most notably the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. He retired in 2000.

Grimsley will return for a third season as pitching coach. He went 124-99 in an 11-year major league career with a 3.81 ERA.

He won two games for Cin-cinnati in the 1972 World Series against Oakland and is the only 20-game winner in Montreal Ex-pos' history.

In his final season in 1982, Grimsley was teammates with Cal Ripken Jr., who owns the GreenJackets along with Ripken Baseball Group.

Skeels will return for his sec-ond season in Augusta. A seventh-round pick of the San Diego Padres, he played 12 seasons in the Padres, Yankees and Dodgers organizations.

Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or steven.l.sanders@augustachronicle.com.


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