Source: Manuel will return as Indians manager

Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2001

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Charlie Manuel, who led Cleveland to an AL Central title this season despite health problems, will return to manage the Indians next year, a team source told the Associated Press on Saturday.

The Indians exercised their 2002 club contract option on Manuel, 57, who had been hoping for a multiyear deal, said the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Manuel agreed to the one-year contract and a pay raise on Friday after meeting with new Indians general manager Mark Shapiro, the source said. Shapiro was not immediately available for comment.

Team spokesman Bart Swain said the club will make an announcement Monday about its manager's future and about Cleveland's coaching staff.

Manuel has won 181 games in two years as Cleveland's manager. However, he missed 13 games both this season and in 2000 with health problems.

He had scar tissue removed from his colon in August, and he was hospitalized again last month because of an infection in his gall bladder.

He was still in the Cleveland Clinic when the Indians clinched their sixth division title in seven years, and didn't rejoin the club until the final weekend of the regular season.

Manuel was also hospitalized last season for colon surgery. He is expected to have his gall bladder removed in a few weeks.

The Indians blew a 2-1 lead and lost their best-of-five AL playoff series against the Seattle Mariners.

Manuel came under fire for some of his decisions in Game 4. He allowed starter Bartolo Colon to stay in to pitch in the seventh inning to Mariners rookie sensation Ichiro Suzuki, whose single drove in the go-ahead run and Seattle went on to a 6-2 victory to force Game 5.

Manuel also called a botched pickoff play to set up Seattle's rally and he was criticized for not using his bench more.

Following the club's elimination, Shapiro, who officially replaces John Hart as Cleveland's GM on Nov. 1, said several Indians veterans expressed their support for the popular manager and said they wanted him back.

First baseman Jim Thome, who is closer to Manuel than any other player, said the manager deserved to come back.

''This is a guy who passionately put his life at stake for us. There's something to be said for that,'' Thome said during the week as he cleaned out his locker at Jacobs Field. ''Charlie's proven he can manage here, and he's done a good job. Charlie is a guy who motivates you. He gets all his players ready to play.

''When you need days off, he gives them to you. He's a guy I think everybody enjoys being around.''

Other players expressed concerns for Manuel's health and the toll managing can have on it.

''At some point you have to wonder if coming back is the right thing,'' third baseman Travis Fryman said. ''His health is more important than any job.''

Manuel became Cleveland's manager Nov. 1, 1999, replacing Mike Hargrove, who was fired after the Indians lost to Boston in the playoffs that year. Manuel spent six seasons as Cleveland's hitting instructor before taking over.

A former major league player, Manuel enjoyed his greatest playing success in Japan. He starred for Yakult and Kintetsu, hitting 48 homers in 1980 -- then a record for an American player.

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