CLEVELAND (AP) - As a former major league pitcher, Jason Bere knows his way around any bullpen.
The Indians are putting him in their busy one.
Manager Terry Francona hired Bere as his new bullpen coach on Tuesday. He’ll replace Kevin Cash, who was named manager of the Tampa Bay’ Rays last month.
Bere, who pitched for five different teams during 11 seasons in the majors, spent the past nine years working as a special assistant in Cleveland’s baseball operations department evaluating and instructing players within the organization. Francona said the team had several internal candidates, but that Bere was exactly what the club needed.
“Jason has been with the organization a long time, so everybody knows him,” Francona said. “I’ve known him all the way back to his minor league days with the White Sox. By design, we had him around a lot. We had some tremendous internal candidates that we could have chose from. But starting with Jason, and after interviewing him significantly, it didn’t seem we needed to go any farther. We would have been moving people around and that didn’t seem to make a lot of sense at this time of the year.
“Jason is filling some big shoes, but he can stand on his own just fine.”
Francona didn’t hesitate using his bullpen last season as the Indians set an AL record with 573 relief appearances.
Bere pitched for Cleveland in 2000 and 2003 before retiring in 2005. The 43-year-old went 71-65 with a 5.14 ERA in 203 major league starts, and was an all-star in 1994 with the Chicago White Sox. He was also the starter and winning pitcher in the final game played at Cleveland Stadium on October 3, 1993.
Francona is confident Bere will work well with pitching coach Mickey Callaway. Although Bere was mostly a starter during his playing career, Francona doesn’t think he’ll have any trouble adjusting to working with relievers.
“As a coaching staff, you have to have everything covered,” Francona said. “But you start with strong people and you make it work. Mickey and Cashie were such a good pair together. They complemented each other. I think Jason Bere will be exactly the same way. He has a different background, but his ability to communicate with players is something that stands out from the minute you meet him.”
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