Alomar staying with Indians – for now

Sandy Alomar Jr. will become a major league manager someday. For

now, he is staying with the Cleveland Indians.

Alomar, the bench coach who served as the club’s interim manager

for six games after Manny Acta was fired in September, will return

next season as new manager Terry Francona’s bench coach.

Toronto, Colorado and Miami all have managerial vacancies but

Alomar isn’t publicly campaigning for any of them or counting on an

interview.

”I don’t sit at the phone waiting for calls,” Alomar said.

”If they want to interview me, they know where I am at. Right now,

I am the bench coach with Terry Francona and the Cleveland

Indians.”

There is a chance Alomar could still leave, but Francona hopes

that isn’t the case.

”Selfishly,” Francona said. ”I hope he stays here.”

Francona’s coaching staff, a blend of experience and

familiarity, was revealed Wednesday by the Indians, who also

announced they exercised their option on pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez’s

$5.75 million contract for next season. Also, the team declined its

$13 million option for designated hitter Travis Hafner and a $6

million option for starter Roberto Hernandez.

General manager Chris Antonetti indicated it was unlikely the

club would re-sign Hafner, a power hitter who has been slowed by

injuries for several seasons. However, the Indians might pursue

Hernandez, whose 2012 season was tangled in a legal mess in the

Dominican Republic, where he was charged with false identity.

”We would have interest in bringing him back if he had interest

in signing here,” Antonetti said.

Hernandez, previously known as Fausto Carmona, made just three

starts in August before his season was ended by an injured right

ankle.

In addition to Alomar, Francona named former Houston manager

Brad Mills as his third-base coach and dipped into the Indians’

minor-league system to make Mike Sarbaugh the first-base coach, and

Mickey Callaway pitching coach. Sarbaugh managed Cleveland’s

Triple-A affiliate in Columbus the past three seasons, and Callaway

served as minor league pitching coordinator in 2012, his third

season in the organization.

”I think he’s going to be a star,” Francona said of the

37-year-old Callaway.

In addition, Ty Van Burkleo was named hitting coach, and Kevin

Cash bullpen coach. Van Burkleo served as Houston’s hitting coach

for the final seven weeks last season and has previously worked in

Oakland and Seattle. Cash played for Francona in Boston from

2007-08 and under Mills in Houston in 2010.

Francona believes he has a ”well-rounded staff.”

”I like our mix,” he said. ”We took our time trying to find

the right staff, and I’m proud of it.”

Although Alomar finished as a runner-up to Francona in the

Indians’ limited managerial search, he said the chance to remain

with a team he played for and coaches was important.

”It means a lot to me and is a great honor to be on Terry’s

staff,” he said. ”I played winter ball with Terry, I know him,

and coming back to Cleveland is great for me. I am looking forward

to learning from him. Terry is one of the best managers in the last

10 years. This is an opportunity for me to learn different things

from different managers.”

Alomar has previously interviewed for manager jobs in Boston and

Toronto.

If Alomar takes a job elsewhere, Mills would seem to be a

natural to take over as Francona’s bench coach. The 55-year-old

Mills was on Francona’s coaching staffs in Philadelphia (1997-2000)

and Boston (2004-09). Mills and Francona were also teammates with

Montreal.

One of Callaway’s first projects will be Jimenez, who has been a

major disappointment since coming over in a trade from Colorado in

2011. The right-hander went 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA last season. He

led the AL in losses, wild pitches and stolen bases allowed and was

the first pitcher to have at least 17 losses with a 5.40 ERA or

higher since 2007.

The Indians had expected much more from the 28-year-old Jimenez,

acquired at the trade deadline for top pitching prospects Drew

Pomeranz and Alex White.

Antonetti said Callaway will spend time working with Jimenez in

the Dominican Republic this winter.

”The thing we’re looking for with Ubaldo is a little more

consistency,” Antonetti said.

That’s what the Indians needed but rarely got from Hafner, whose

career has been sidetracked by injuries in recent years. Because of

knee and back problems, Hafner played in only 66 games last season,

batting .228 with 12 home runs and 34 RBIs. The Indians are paying

a $2.75 million buyout to cut ties with Hafner, who spent 10 years

with the club.

Hafner put up MVP-caliber statistics for four straight seasons,

topping out with 42 homers and 117 RBIs in 2006. The Indians

rewarded him with a four-year, $57 million contract, but injuries

prevented him from living up to the deal.

”For a while he was as feared as one of the best hitters in the

American League,” Antonetti said.

Hafner finished with 200 homers, the most by a DH in Cleveland

history.