CLEVELAND (AP) — Sandy Alomar Jr.’s big week will end in a big day.
Alomar, who was named the Cleveland Indians interim manager when Manny Acta was fired on Sept. 27, will interview for the full-time position on Thursday. No one would blame him if his mind wandered during Wednesday night’s 9-0 loss to Chicago in the season’s final game, but Alomar maintained that wasn’t the case.
“I’ll have plenty of time to think about that,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it and see how things go. I’m excited about it.”
Alomar, who served as Acta’s bench coach, believes he learned a lot in the last six games, in which the Indians went 3-3.
“I gained a ton of experience in six days,” he said. “I’m kind of glad I got the opportunity to manage the team. This was a wonderful experience for myself. I learned a lot about what managing is all about.”
Terry Francona, who managed Boston to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, will interview for the job Friday.
“I know that I cannot match Terry Francona’s resume, but I believe I am ready for the job,” Alomar said. “The Indians owe me nothing and if they decide to go another way, then that is their decision. I am happy to be considered.”
Cleveland contended in the AL Central until going 5-24 in August — the worst month in the franchise’s 112-year history, a collapse that cost Acta his job. The Indians finished 68-94 and in fourth place in the division.
If past success and experience are the top priorities, Francona is the front-runner. If Cleveland fans picked the new manager, Alomar, a six-time All-Star catcher with the Indians, would be a clear winner. The crowd of 18,093 chanted “Sandy, Sandy, Sandy” when he changed pitchers in the ninth inning, but Alomar is taking nothing for granted.
“I have not even sat in Manny’s chair,” he said. “When I use the manager’s office, I sit on the couch. Coaches and players come in, it is the manager’s office, and I am fine with people coming in and out of it.”
Designated hitter Travis Hafner, likely playing his last game in an Indians uniform, had a single in four at-bats. He was given a warm ovation when he hit in the ninth inning and tipped his helmet as he stepped out of the box before popping up. Hafner, 35, has been plagued by injuries the last five years. The Indians hold a $13 million option on Hafner for next season, which the club surely won’t pick up. The team likely will pay him a $2.7 million buyout.
“It’s something I’ll never forget,” Hafner said of the fans’ ovation. “This is a special moment to have the fans do that. I wanted to thank them. They’ve been great to me.”
The game was a fitting ending for the Indians. Dan Johnson hit his first three homers of the season and the White Sox added two more. Gavin Floyd (12-11) gave up three hits over seven innings.
Johnson hit two two-run homers off David Huff (3-1). His 424-foot shot in the second inning was his first in more than a year. His second made it 7-0 in the fifth, two batters after Paul Konerko hit his 26th of the season.
It was Johnson’s fifth career multihomer game and first time he hit three in a game. He’s the first player to hit three in a game against Cleveland since Konerko in July 2009.
Dayan Viciedo hit his 25th homer, third in three nights and sixth against Cleveland in the ninth, followed by Johnson’s third.
Chicago went 4-11 down the stretch to place second to Detroit after leading the AL Central by three games on Sept. 18. Huff gave up nine hits in 4 2-3 innings. Only three runs charged to him were earned. A throwing error by third baseman Chisenhall made Chicago’s entire four-run fifth unearned. NOTES: Cleveland RF Shin-Soo Choo extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games with an eighth-inning single. … Chicago 1B Adam Dunn did not play, finishing with 222 strikeouts, one shy of the major-league record set by Mark Reynolds with Arizona in 2009. … The Indians’ 110 stolen bases are their most since taking 113 in 2000. … Cleveland scored 667 runs in 2012, down 37 from 2011. … Cleveland’s total home attendance of 1,603,596 was its second-lowest since 1992, not quite 213,000 ahead of 2010.