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Francona Likes The Look Of His First Indians Coaching Staff

By Matt Loede - 92.3 The Fan's Indians Beat Reporter
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Sandy Alomar gets ready to test the catchers / (Photo by Matt Loede)

Sandy Alomar gets ready to test the catchers / (Photo by Matt Loede)

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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Indians manager Terry Francona is excited to get to work, and now he has what he feels are the proper coaches in place to help he and the Indians be successful in 2013.

The Indians announced the remainder of the coaching staff Tuesday, with Sandy Alomar returning for now as a bench coach, Brad Mills as the third base coach and former Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh the first base and infield coach.

The team also hired Mickey Gallaway as pitching coach, Ty Van Burkleo as hitting coach and Kevin Cash as bullpen coach.

“I think we have a well rounded staff,” Francona said. “It wasn’t necessary to have prior relationships with people, in (Brad) Mills’ case, he has the ability because of our relationship to tell me I am wrong, and that’s important.”

One of the wild cards of the staff is the fact that Alomar still may bolt to another team should he get the chance to be a manager.

There’s still three MLB openings, that being in Miami with the Marlins, Colorado with the Rockies, and in Toronto with the Blue Jays. Francona says he realizes that Alomar will be a manager soon.

“In Sandy’s case his resume speaks for itself,” Francona said. “He was up for the manager job here and he will manage someday soon, I hope he gets what he wants, selfishly I hope he stays here.”

The teams hiring of Gallaway was somewhat of a surprise, as he has no Major League experience as a pitching coach, but impressed Francona in interviews.

“We really went deep into the process, Mickey did an incredible job of preparing,” Francona said. “I would say he doesn’t have experience at the MLB level, but neither did I at one point, I can say he’s going to be a star.”

Gallaway spent last season as the Indians Minor League Pitching Coordinator. He was previously the Pitching Coach at Class-A Lake County in 2010 and at Class-A Kinston in 2011.

As far as the new hitting coach in Van Burkleo, he at one point in his playing career was the player of the year with the Seibu Lions in Japan, hitting 38 home runs and driving in 90 runs for the 1988 Japan Champions.

In the 2007 and 2008 seasons he was the hitting coach for the Oakland A’s. In 2009, he was signed by the Seattle Mariners to be the bench coach to manager Don Wakamatsu.

“He (Van Burkleo) interviews really well, and I talked to managers and coaches and they raved about him,” Francona said. “He lives in the (batting) cage and cares about the hitters more than he does putting on a sport coat and interviewing, which is how it’s supposed to be.”

Now with the coaching staff in place, Francona and the team can start getting to work on players, and continuing to make decisions after the team declined options on Travis Hafner and Roberto Hernandez, and picking up the option on pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.

“You try to take everything in consideration, and hire the right people for the right jobs, and let them go to work,” Francona said. “I think we’re going to do that.”

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