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AP file photo by John Bazemore / Brian Snitker heads into what will be his fifth full season as manager of the Atlanta Braves having received a contract extension through 2023 with a club option for 2024.

ATLANTA — It took a while for Brian Snitker to get his opportunity to be the manager of an MLB team, and he's in no hurry to let it go. The Atlanta Braves seem happy to have him stick around a little longer, too.

The Braves announced Friday they have extended Snitker's contract through the 2023 season, with a club option for 2024.

Snitker, who turned 65 in October, took over as manager of the Braves on an interim basis in May 2016 and is heading into his fifth full season in charge. He has led the Braves to three straight National League East Division titles, and last season they came within a win of reaching the World Series for the first time this century.

"It feels good," he said after Friday's spring training workout in North Port, Florida. "I'm not one that worries about that kind of thing, honestly. If this was going to be my last year or whatever, I would give it everything I've got. But it's nice, obviously, that someone thinks enough of you to extend that kind of package."

Snitker has been with the Braves organization for 45 seasons as a player, coach and manager — mostly in the minor leagues — after signing with the club as an undrafted free agent in 1977.

When Fredi Gonzalez was fired early in the 2016 season, Snitker became one of the oldest first-time managers in the history of the major leagues. He's now the fourth-oldest manager in MLB behind Tony La Russa of the Chicago White Sox, Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros and Joe Maddon of the Los Angeles Angels.

Despite the age gap leading one of baseball's most exciting young rosters, a group that includes 20-somethings Ronald Acuña Jr. in the outfield, Ozzie Albies at second base and Mike Soroka on the mound, Snitker has meshed well with his players while adapting to the analytics-driven style pushed by general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

"It's refreshing being around all these guys," Snitker said. "They keep keep me young and feeling good and wanting to come back. I stay energized from these players. And knowing and respecting how they go about it and appreciating what they do is a big thing that allows them to relax and just enjoy what they're doing."

Shortstop Dansby Swanson said Snitker's vast experience at all levels of the game earns him the respect of the players.

"When you've seen it from so many different angles, it allows you to know what the players like to do and how they see things," Swanson said. "He's grown as comfortable with us as we have with him. He's always asking us about certain things. When you can have that direct dialogue, it's definitely a fun working relationship."

Plus, Snitker has shown a deft personal touch with his young players.

"We know he cares about us tremendously off the field as people," Swanson said. "That stuff is important because we spend so much time together."

Snitker took over when the Braves were undergoing a massive rebuild, and few saw him having a long-term role as manager. After going 72-90 in his first full season, though, Atlanta won the first of its three straight division titles in 2018, with Snitker voted manager of the year in the NL.

Last season, veteran first baseman Freddie Freeman had an NL MVP season as the Braves won a playoff series for the first time since 2001, beating the Cincinnati Reds in the wild-card round and the Miami Marlins in an NL Division Series before taking the NL Championship Series to a seventh game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who went on to win the World Series.

Atlanta led the NLCS 3-1 before the Dodgers rallied to win the final three games.

"I am thrilled that Brian will continue to lead our club on the field and in the clubhouse," Anthopoulos, the Atlanta GM, said in a released statement. "Three consecutive division titles speak to the impact of Brian and his staff, and we are pleased that he will continue to guide our club through 2023."

Snitker has an overall record of 353-317 (.527), which ranks fourth in wins since the franchise relocated to Atlanta in 1966. He's far behind Bobby Cox (2,058 wins), the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee who in 1995 led the franchise to its only World Series title since moving south from Milwaukee. However, Snitker figures to go past Gonzalez (432) and Luman Harris (379) this year.

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