Terry Francona hired as Cleveland manager
CLEVELAND (AP) - Terry Francona is getting back with one of his baseball families.
Francona, who guided the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles, has been named manager of the Cleveland Indians, a team that collapsed in the second half this season after a promising first four months.
The 53-year-old will be introduced as Cleveland's 42nd manager during a Monday news conference at Progressive Field.
Cleveland chose Francona over Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as the club's interim manager for the final six games after Manny Acta was fired on Sept. 27. Francona and Alomar, who spent the past three seasons as a coach in Cleveland, were the only candidates to interview for the Indians' opening.
Alomar has been offered a spot on Francona's staff, most likely as bench coach.
The Indians have always held a special place for Francona. After he was fired as Philadelphia's manager, he worked in Cleveland's front office as an adviser in 2001. He also spent a portion of the 1988 season on Cleveland's major league roster and his father, Tito, played with the Indians from 1959-64.
Francona has stayed close with Indians president Mark Shapiro and general manager Chris Antonetti over the past decade. He said the chance to work with them again is what intrigued him most about the Cleveland job, which will have its challenges because of a much smaller payroll than he enjoyed in Boston.
"It's a good story, almost a family feeling,'' Francona said after his interview on Friday. "I don't think you can take a job because of that, but it still means a lot to me. Because of Chris and Mark and my relationship, I am excited to try to tackle, or attempt to tackle, every challenge that comes our way and do it together.''
Francona interviewed with the Indians one day after Alomar, a six-time All-Star catcher for Cleveland and fan favorite. Alomar managed the Indians to a 3-3 record after Acta was dismissed. Alomar will likely be courted by other teams seeking a manager. He interviewed with Boston last year before the Red Sox hired Bobby Valentine.
Francona spent eight seasons with the Red Sox but was not brought back after the club fell apart down the stretch in 2011. This season, Francona worked as an analyst for ESPN and said it was while preparing for broadcasts that he realized how much he missed managing and being around players.
Francona has managed for 12 seasons in the majors, compiling a 1,029-915 record.
Antonetti said part of Francona's appeal was how he developed young players like Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester as they came up through Boston's system.
The Indians went 68-94 this season, Acta's third with the club. They were within 3 1-2 games of first place on July 27, but went 5-24 in August - the worst month in the franchise's 112-year history - and finished 20 games out in the AL Central.