Tribe name Tim Belcher Pitching Coach

BY foxsports • November 6, 2009

By Tom Withers, AP Sports Writer

After a few minutes, Acta had heard enough.

"He said, 'Why are we going any farther? This is the guy,'" Shapiro said.


Belcher, who has done just about everything but pitch for the Indians,
is the first member of Acta's new staff. The 48-year-old Belcher had
spent the past eight seasons as a special assistant, instructing,
evaluating and scouting players throughout Cleveland's system.

Now, he'll coach their best ones.

"I view it as a good opportunity and challenge," Belcher said Friday.


Belcher replaces Carl Willis, who was let go after seven seasons when
the Indians fired manager Eric Wedge and his entire coaching staff last
month. Cleveland had its worst season since 1991, a slide that was tied
in many ways to the Indians' pitching problems.

It's up to Belcher to get them worked out.


The former major leaguer, who won 146 games over a 14-year career with
seven teams, is very familiar with Cleveland's arms. Belcher served as
an interim pitching coach in each of Cleveland's minor-league levels
and was an in-uniform instructor during spring training. His knowledge
of the Indians pitchers made him attractive to Acta.


"He has all the intangibles that we were looking for," said Acta, who
is still interviewing candidates to fill the other coaching vacancies.
"We wanted to bring in a guy who could right this ship."


Belcher has turned down other coaching opportunities in the past, but
couldn't resist the chance to accept one about a 90-minute drive from
his home in Sparta, Ohio.

He's got his
work cut with Cleveland's pitching staff. The Indians' 5.06 ERA was the
second-highest in the AL, while opponents batted .294 against the
club's starters. The Indians are counting on Fausto Carmona to bounce
back after a disastrous season and hope Jake Westbrook makes it back
from elbow surgery.

Acta said he and Belcher have discussed pitching philosophies and they already share a common belief.


"Pound the strike zone," Acta said. "Whether your name is Fausto or
Zausto, if you're not missing bats, you better not be walking people."


Acta said he strongly considered three candidates for the job, but came
away convinced Belcher was the best qualified because of his
background, preparedness and intellect.

"One of his ex-teammates told me that he's too smart to be a pitching coach," Acta said.


Belcher has not spent much time with Acta, but he has been impressed
with Cleveland's new manager. Belcher said before accepting the job, he
did his research to learn about his new boss.

"I got nothing but rave reviews from anyone I talked to," he said.


Belcher made 373 starts in the majors before retiring in 2000. He won
at least 10 games in nine seasons and in seven of them pitched more
than 200 innings. He's been a workhorse before and isn't afraid to take
on the Indians' pitching staff, another heavy load.


"I'm challenged by it, but I wouldn't view it as a daunting task," he
said. "I've got a lot of work to do in building trust with some of the
new guys and building relationships with them."


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