Archive for Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Wedge, Yost, Macha hired by Indians, Brewers, A’s

October 30, 2002


Eric Wedge became the youngest manager in the major leagues Tuesday at age 34, while Ned Yost took over in Milwaukee and Ken Macha officially got the job in Oakland.

Just two managing jobs remain open, the Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners, while San Francisco and Dusty Baker still are undecided about working out a new contract. Seven new managers have been hired since the end of the regular season.

Wedge, a former big league catcher, was introduced as Cleveland's manager on Tuesday and said his predecessor, interim manager Joel Skinner, will go back to his previous job as the team's third base coach.

"Skins and I are friends," Wedge said. "I didn't have to urge him to stay. I have the utmost respect for Joel. I'm just happy to have him."

Skinner, who replaced Charlie Manuel, led the Indians to a 35-41 record during a turbulent second half this season. He was disappointed at not getting the job, but he wanted to remain with the club he's been with as a player, coach and manager.

"Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose," Skinner said. "But I don't think anybody is a loser here. I'm glad I got the opportunity. I think I filled a gigantic hole, and I feel proud about it. The one thing I'm not going to have is a pity party."

Wedge managed Cleveland's Triple-A team in Buffalo to a 178-108 record the past two seasons.

"I'm an aggressive person by nature," said Wedge, who added that he's toned down his act in recent years. "I'll feel the moment, and if I need a softer touch, I can do that. But I'm always going to stand up for my players."

Yost replaced Jerry Royster, who was fired after the Brewers finished a franchise-worst 56-106 last season. Royster took over from Davey Lopes in April.

"I've been waiting to put this on for a while," Yost said as he put on a Brewers uniform, returning to the team where he was a backup catcher in the 1980s.

Yost spent the last 11 seasons on Bobby Cox's coaching staff in Atlanta. He played in 219 games for Milwaukee, Texas and Montreal, the majority for the Brewers in 1980-83.

"I've been sitting in my office the last couple of days looking at the old team pictures that we had from '80, '81 and '82 and Harvey Kuenn and Buck Rodgers and George Bamberger," Yost said. "And to think that I'm going to be able to come back and be able to manage the Milwaukee Brewers, it's just like being a 4-year-old at Christmastime."

Macha, who had been Oakland's bench coach, replaced Art Howe, who left to become manager of the New York Mets.

"You're talking about a guy with a civil engineering degree," A's general manager Billy Beane said. "He's very organized, very structured. I think Kenny's one of those guys who's matter-of-fact and easy to communicate with. He also addresses things, both good and bad."

Beane was certain Macha would leave the A's to become manager of another team. He said the framework of a contract was in place with the Brewers before Howe left.

"I don't know who controls all this stuff," Macha said. "(Maybe) a 1,000-to-1 shot it all happened this way."

Macha spent four years as a manager in the Boston organization before joining the A's as a bench coach before the 1999 season.

Since the end of the season, Alan Trammell replaced Luis Pujols in Detroit, Buck Showalter replaced Jerry Narron in Texas and Howe replaced Bobby Valentine with the Mets.

San Francisco said it will first address whether to keep general manager Brian Sabean before discussing the status of Baker, who appears likely to leave.

The Mariners began the interview process Tuesday, spending time with two in-house candidates: bench coach John McLaren and pitching coach Bryan Price.

General manager Pat Gillick said each received a four-hour interview.

"We had very frank, candid conversations with a good exchange of ideas," Gillick said. "Both of them handled themselves quite well."

The team scheduled interviews for today with former major league managers Jim Riggleman and Terry Francona. Gillick said interviews with several candidates will continue through Saturday.

Dan Rohn, the manager of Seattle's Triple-A Tacoma affiliate, also will be interviewed this week.

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