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CLEVELAND — Manny Acta’s second season managing the Indians was stressful. Next year, he can relax a little.
One day after Acta led Cleveland to a second-place finish in the AL Central, general manager Chris Antonetti announced the club has exercised its 2013 option.
Acta kept the Indians in contention for much of this season before injuries overwhelmed the young club, which finished 14 games behind AL Central champion Detroit. A rash of injuries torpedoed a 30-15 start, but the Indians still managed to finish 80-82 — an 11-game improvement over Acta’s first season.
“When we reflect on the successes we’ve had and the progress we’ve made, it began with Manny and his coaching staff and the tone they set in spring training,” Antonetti said Thursday. “I feel much better about where we are today than where we were a year ago, and I think a lot of that has to do with Manny’s leadership.”
Acta is 149-175 in two seasons with Cleveland.
“I’m very happy that I know I will be here for at least two years,” he said. “This is a place I want to be.”
Following a tough 2½ seasons in Washington that ended with being fired, Acta was hired by the Indians before the 2010 season. He chose Cleveland over Houston despite playing, coaching and managing in the Astros’ system. Acta picked the Indians because he felt they were closer to contending, and he’s helped them get there.
“I made the decision based on some facts, and over the last two years they have been confirmed,” he said. “That was based on our farm system, our young players who are making an impact at the big league level and our chances of being competitive and eventually winning. I’ve seen it in two years.”
Acta’s staff will look considerably different next season. On Wednesday, bench coach Tim Tolman disclosed he has Parkinson’s disease and will not be back, and pitching coach Tim Belcher stepped down to spend more time with his family. Both will remain with the Indians in other roles.
Acta said replacing Tolman, who worked with him in Washington, and Belcher will be difficult.
“Those are the two guys I relied on the most during the game,” said Acta, who was ejected from Cleveland’s season finale in Detroit. “It’s not going to be easy. We’re going to work hard to bring two guys in to help me.”
Antonetti said the remainder of Cleveland’s coaching staff will return. Sandy Alomar Jr., who has coached first base the last two seasons, will move to the bench in 2012. Hitting coach Bruce Fields, third-base coach Steve Smith and bullpen coach Scott Radinsky also will be back.
Antonetti said Radinsky will be considered for the pitching coach vacancy.
Alomar is reportedly a candidate to replace Ozzie Guillen as manager of the Chicago White Sox. Antonetti wouldn’t say whether the White Sox have asked for permission to talk to Alomar, but added the Indians will not stand in his way.