ATLANTA - The Atlanta Braves announced today that longtime Special Assistant to the General Manager Dick Balderson has announced his retirement. Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren also announced the hiring of Jeff Schugel as Special Assistant to the General Manager/Major League Scout.

Balderson retires after 16 seasons in the Braves organization, including the last 10 as a Special Assistant to the General Manager/Major League Scout. Balderson originally joined the organization in 1997 as a Major League scout and in July 1999 he was appointed the Director of Player Development, a position he held through the 2003 season.

Braves President John Schuerholz hired Balderson as an assistant in Kansas City's player development department in 1976, and the two have known each other since the early 1970s. "Dick and I have known each other for a long time," Schuerholz said. "When I asked him to join our staff in Kansas City, it was a reflection of my respect for his knowledge of the game, his leadership skills and his judgment. I have high regard for Dick as a person and as a baseball executive and we all wish him nothing but the best in his retirement."

Wren added, "Dick has been a big part of our baseball operations staff for 16 years, including our Major League scouting staff since 2004. We want to congratulate him on a great career that covered nearly 40 years as a professional baseball executive."

Balderson began his executive career as the Assistant Farm Director for the Kansas City Royals in 1976. He moved to the Seattle Mariners organization as Vice President of Baseball Operations for four seasons (1985-88), and joined the Chicago Cubs as Director of Scouting before being named Vice President of Scouting and Player Development. Prior to joining the Braves, Balderson worked for the Colorado Rockies organization, where he was the Director of Player Development from 1992 to 1994 and Vice President of Player Personnel from 1995 to 1997.

The 2014 season will mark Schugel's 27th year as a scout and 31st season in professional baseball. He will work closely with the baseball operations department and will report to Wren. Schugel most recently spent two seasons as Major League Special Assignment Scout for the Los Angeles Angels, following seven campaigns (2005-11) as an Angels Major League scout.  

Prior to his time with the Angels, Schugel worked in various capacities for the Los Angeles Dodgers (2000-04), Colorado Rockies (1993-2000) and Minnesota Twins (1987-91). He earned two World Series rings (1987 & 1991) during his tenure with Minnesota.

"We are excited to hire Jeff Schugel as a special assistant and Major League scout," Wren said. "Jeff will primarily cover the Major League teams in the western divisions and special assignments. He comes to us with a wealth of experience in both professional and amateur scouting."

During his five seasons with the Dodgers, Schugel worked as a special assistant to the GM, focusing on international scouting efforts. With Colorado, he served as the Rockies' Director of Professional & International Scouting (1998-99), and as the Rockies' National Cross-Checker for four campaigns, from 1995 to 1998. He began his professional scouting career with Minnesota as the Twins' Florida Scouting Supervisor before moving up as the club's East Coast Supervisor.

A native of New Ulm, Minn., Schugel and wife his Tammy reside in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Their son A.J. is a pitcher in the Angels system, selected in the 2010 draft out of Central Arizona College.