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 Tribe tabs Acta to be new manager

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PostSubject: Tribe tabs Acta to be new manager   Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:10 pm

Tribe tabs Acta to be new manager
Veteran becomes 40th skipper in franchise's history

By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com

10/25/09 4:23 PM ET

NEW YORK -- The Indians hoped to select and announce their new manager after the World Series.

Manny Acta sped up their timetable.

Acta was the first candidate the Indians brought to Cleveland for a formal interview for their managerial vacancy last week, and he must have left a lasting impression. The Indians named Acta their 40th manager Sunday, signing him to a three-year contract through 2012, with a club option for 2013.

The 40-year-old Acta, who turns 41 in January, beat out Triple-A Columbus manager Torey Lovullo, and former Mets and Rangers manager and current ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine, both of whom were also at Progressive Field for interviews last week.

Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly was expected to interview for the job this week, but the Tribe moved forward with the hire more quickly than anticipated.

The Astros might have played a part in the Indians' sudden urgency, as they offered Acta a two-year contract with a third-year option to be their manager. Acta spent 16 years in the Astros' Minor League system -- including six as a Minor League player and eight as a Minor League manager -- so it had been speculated that they might be his first choice. But he turned down Houston's offer to take over an Indians club looking to repair itself after two subpar seasons, including a tie for last place in the American League Central in 2009.

"I am very excited to become part of the Cleveland Indians family," Acta said in a release. "I look forward to working with this talented group of young men who seem to possess a lot of energy and passion for their work. I believe we will grow together as a team with the ultimate goal of bringing a championship to Cleveland and its fans."

The Indians, who dismissed Eric Wedge and his coaching staff in the last week of the '09 season, scheduled a press conference for Monday afternoon at Progressive Field to officially introduce Acta to those fans. General manager Mark Shapiro will address the decision at that time.

Acta is the first manager the Indians have brought in from outside their system since John McNamara took over in 1990.

"We are very excited to have Manny Acta as our Major League manager," Shapiro said in a release. "After speaking with an impressive array of candidates, we feel that Manny is a very strong and experienced leader who possesses great energy and enthusiasm, along with tremendous communication skills and a positive mindset that will command a presence in the dugout, clubhouse and with our fans."

Acta knows what it's like to be part of a rebuild. He compiled a 158-252 record in two-plus seasons at the helm of the Nationals before he was dismissed in July. The Nats were 26-61 with Acta this season and 33-42 without him.

"Rebuilding is tough," Acta told reporters last week. "It's grueling. You're going to suffer in wins and losses. A lot of people judge you on that. I'm thankful baseball people look at more than wins and losses when you go into a rebuilding process."

Acta is statistically minded and enjoys discussing and applying sabermetrics. He also is a bilingual Dominican native, which could help him develop a good rapport and relationship with the Latin players.

"This is a job where handling people and working with people is the key," Acta said last week. "This is a job where sometimes the employees are making 50,000 times more than the boss. Handling them the right way is the key."

Red Sox pitching coach and former Tribe pitcher and farm director John Farrell had been the Indians' top choice going into the interview process, but Farrell made it clear he wishes to stay where he is.

The Indians wanted to bring in a skipper who possesses strong communications skills, understands the market, knows how to develop young players and has an idea of what makes a strong pitching coach. The development of the Tribe's young pitchers will be pivotal as the club moves forward after a 65-97 season.

It remains to be seen who Acta has in mind for his coaching spots. Lovullo could emerge as a Major League coaching candidate.

Acta has been a coach or manager at the Major League level since 2002. He originally broke into the bigs as a third-base/infield coach for the Expos in 2002. He held that position for three years before moving to the same position with the Mets in 2005 and '06. He was named the Nationals' manager in the winter before the 2007 season.

Acta holds dual citizenship in the Dominican Republic and the U.S. He's the only active manager in the Majors from the Dominican and just the fourth manager from there overall. He has managed four years in the Dominican and Venezuelan winter leagues, and he also managed the Dominican team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


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PostSubject: Re: Tribe tabs Acta to be new manager   Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:42 pm

Acta spells out his goals for Tribe
New manager will spend offseason getting to know players

By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com

10/26/09 8:20 PM ET

CLEVELAND -- When Manny Acta was growing up in the Dominican town of San Pedro De Macoris, his grandmother lived across the street from five-time All-Star infielder Tony Fernandez.

Acta remembers shagging balls for for the elder Fernandez, and, as an infielder himself, he no doubt benefited from being around such a talented player.

But Fernandez also rubbed off on Acta in a way that had nothing to do with baseball.

"He had a book called 'Basic English,'" Acta remembered. "It was 800 words to help you communicate. That's the book he used to learn English, and I ended up using the same book."

Now, Acta is fluent in two languages, and Indians general manager Mark Shapiro considers him an "elite communicator" who is ready to guide the Tribe through a difficult rebuilding process.

Acta, formally introduced as the Indians' new manager at a press conference at Progressive Field on Monday, had a chance to show off those communication skills to the local media. And in an hour-long series of interviews in front of the cameras and tape recorders and on the local radio, Acta came across sharp-minded, quick-witted and, above all else, ready to lead.

Less than two days after agreeing to a three-year contract with a club option for 2013, Acta said he plans to spend the offseason getting to know the organization's players, inside and out.

"When I'm in, I'm in all the way," Acta said. "Minor Leagues, Winter Leagues, Arizona Fall League. I have nothing else to do. My only hobby is to play golf, and I'm not any good at it, so why would I be out there?"

It's no secret that some Tribe fans are wondering what, exactly, Acta is doing here.

This is, after all, the same Acta who was dismissed by the Nationals in July, after the Nats began the season with a 26-61 record. He's the same Acta who compiled a .385 winning percentage (158-252) -- the fourth-lowest winning percentage among managers with at least two years of experience over the last 50 years.

Acta, in short, is not the big-name skipper so many fans wanted to replace the dismissed Eric Wedge.

He knows this, and he intends to fix it over time.

"If you give people the opportunity to choose between, say, Joe Torre after his first three years with the Mets or the Joe Torre now, I believe everyone would pick the one from now," Acta said. "I think we have to look back and know that not everybody who is a big shot now was a big shot when they started. I think big shots are just little shots who keep shooting, and I'm not willing to quit shooting until I become a big shot."

The Indians weren't necessarily looking for a big shot. They were open-minded about this hire, and their process to find the right man -- or, more accurately, the write Manny -- for the job was, in their view, exhaustive. The Tribe compiled a list of about 35 candidates, had two-hour phone interviews with around 10 candidates and had Acta, former Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine and Triple-A Columbus manager Torey Lovullo come to Cleveland for a formal interview.

As the Indians were attempting to arrange a formal sitdown with Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly, the Astros altered the Tribe's timetable by offering Acta a two-year contract with an option for a third on Saturday. At that point, Acta wasn't sure if the Indians, who had him in town on Oct. 20, would make him an offer.

"These people over here are very good poker players," he said. "I had no idea how much interest there was in me."

The Indians showed their cards by countering the Astros' offer with the three-year contract, and Acta, who spent 16 years in the Astros' Minor League system as a player and manager, had to choose between the team that groomed him and the team that made him a more attractive proposal.

Acta went with the Tribe, informing both teams of his decision on Saturday night. The deal was announced Sunday afternoon.

"Every decision in life is tough," Acta said. "I wanted to come to a place where I can grow with the front office and the good group of young, talented players we have here, and become good for a long time. ... I consider myself a blessed human being. Both jobs were offered. It was a very tough day for me, emotionally. But that being said, you have to do what's best. And I felt that Cleveland was best."

Shapiro said the Astros' offer to Acta sped up the decision-making process.

"All it did," Shapiro said, "was force us to vocalize with each other what we had already been thinking, which is that Manny is the right guy."

Why is he the right guy? The Indians obviously looked past Acta's record. They talked to people who had worked for him, worked with him, played for him and played against him at both the Minor and Major levels. And they liked what they heard about Acta, a former third-base coach with the Expos and Mets.

"It became evident to all of us throughout the process, as Manny's passion, presence, positive attitude and intelligence resonated with us, that he was the right man to lead us, going forward," Shapiro said. "His character, resourcefulness, desire to continue to learn and improve, ability to teach and bring the best out of people and players ... those traits and characteristics make us excited."

The 40-year-old Acta, who will wear No. 11 because his birthday is Jan. 11, showed his excitement for the job in the interview process by demonstrating his knowledge of the Indians' players and their situation. After the Nats dismissed Acta, he spent the second half watching the games of teams he thought might be looking to make a managerial move this offseason, and the Indians, who finished tied for last in the AL Central, intrigued him.

"I battled this organization for years in the Minor Leagues," Acta said. "This is a place where a lot of people want to be. In 2007, I worked as an analyst during the playoffs [for Spanish-language FOX Sports] and fell in love with the Indians back then."

These Indians, as currently constructed, are a long, long way from that division-champion '07 club that finished a win away from the World Series. Acta thinks the Indians will be markedly improved by the healthy returns of Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner and Jake Westbrook, but he knows this is a club that is going to need time to grow.

"I'm not blind," he said. "Help me if I am. But I think we have the components of a terrific lineup. We do have some work to do in our starting rotation, but that's what we're here for. We're here to take this team to the next level."

That won't happen overnight, and Acta won't win over the fan base until he's posting wins in the standings.

But on Monday, he introduced himself to those fans and communicated his vision clearly. And for now, that's a start.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Tribe tabs Acta to be new manager   Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:03 pm

2010 Manager & Coaches

11 Manny Acta
Manager

44 Jon Nunnally
Batting Coach

49 Tim Belcher
Pitching Coach

15 Sandy Alomar, Jr.First Base Coach

10 Steve Smith
Third Base Coach

29 Tim Tolman
Bench Coach

36 Scott Radinsky
Bullpen Coach

62 Ruben Niebla
Coach

60 David Wallace
Coach
Staff
Lonnie Soloff
Director of Medical Services
Rick Jameyson
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Nick Kenney
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Tony Amato
Home Clubhouse/Equipment Manager
Jeff Sipos
Manager of Equipment Acquisitions
Willie Jenks
Visiting Clubhouse Manager
Marty Bokovitz
Assistant Home Clubhouse/Equipment Manager
Bob Chester
Manager, Video Operations
Frank Velotta
Video Operations
Lino Diaz
Director Latin American Operations
Dr. Charles Maher
Director, Employee Assistance Program
Mark Schickendantz, M.D.
Head Team Physician
Ronald Golovan, M.D.
Assistant Director, Medical Services and Employee Assistance Program
K.V. Gopal, M.D.
Team Physician
Zenos Vangelos, D.O.
Team Physician
Jim Mehalik
Director of Rehabilitation
Tim Maxey
Strength & Conditioning Coach
Toshi Nagahara
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Jake Beiting
Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
Kim Stearns, M.D.
Team Physician
Jim Williams, M.D.
Team Physician
Tom Graham, M.D.
Team Physician
Mike Seghi
Director of Team Travel


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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