Per a Romemedia release, the Rome Braves have "relieved" their manager, Matt Walbeck, of his duties. Rick Albert has been named the new manager. Albert was a member of the Gulf Coast League coaching staff for the Braves.
No word yet as to why Walbeck was replaced/relieved, though I don't want to jump to conclusions and say he was fired, but it certainly looks that way. Rome is mired in last place and has one of the worst records of any team in the minor leagues.
UPDATE: 7/8, 8:30am:
Updating this story from yesterday, which broke right here on Talking Chop. The Braves will not comment on why Walbeck was fired. Here is what Kurt Kemp said about it to the Altoona Mirror:
"Basically due to philosophical differences, we felt like it was important to make a change for our Rome club at this time," Braves player development director Kurt Kemp said by phone.
Kemp would not provide more insight when pressed to explain those differences or reveal any details about the Walbeck situation.
"I'm not really gonna discuss it; I think that's fair," Kemp said. "That's the true position, and there's nothing else I'm gonna really say about it."
And management did so with full conviction, according to multiple sources Thursday, because of a long-held internal view that Walbeck was not fully following the prescribed development programs of the minor-league system. Most notable, according to the sources, was a lack of extra work before games. Another was a lack of communication with players and the Pirates' staff.
Reading into both of these reasons there seem to be similarities. Not following "prescribed development programs" sounds a lot like "philosophical differences." We'll probably never know why he was really let go, but we have to trust that the Braves development folks would not have taken the rare step of firing a manager mid-season were it not pretty serious.
The Rome News-Tribune also has some quotes from the R-Braves new manager.