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Francona announces coaching realignment

Francona announces coaching realignment

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Francona announces coaching realignment

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona is going to have his old friend at his side in the dugout next season.

In a sit-down with local media on Monday, Francona announced a realignment for his 2014 coaching staff, which will include moving Brad Mills to the bench coach role after working as the third-base coach this past season. Sandy Alomar Jr. will shift from the bench coach job to first-base coaching duties, while Mike Sarbaugh will move across the diamond from first-base coach to third-base coach.

Hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo, pitching coach Mickey Callaway and bullpen coach Kevin Cash will return in their same roles.

"We'll try to use our guys' strengths more," Francona explained. "Now, again, if somebody gets a managing job, we may have to make a change. The hope is, when you hire good people, you know at some point you'll lose them."

Francona was hinting at the fact that Alomar -- interviewed by the Cubs and Blue Jays in previous years as a managerial candidate -- has been linked to the Cubs again in their search for a new manager. Indians general manager Chris Antonetti declined comment when asked if Chicago had requested permission to interview Alomar for the vacancy.

Mills was Francona's bench coach during their days with the Red Sox, but their history extends well before Boston. Francona and Mills were teammates at University of Arizona and again in the Majors with the Montreal Expos. When Francona worked as the Phillies manager, Mills was his first-base coach.

Sarbaugh coached third base throughout his time in Cleveland's Minor League ranks. The Indians manager was also quick to note the move from the bench to first base was not a demotion for Alomar, who was retained as the bench coach in 2013 after filling the same role for former Indians manager Manny Acta in 2012.

"Sandy's passion, a lot of it, is being what a first-base coach does," Francona said. "I didn't ever want it to be a demotion, so we walked through that. Actually, we walked through it last year, but I didn't want to do it, and he was more than willing at the time. But I just didn't want it to appear like a demotion, because it's not."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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