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Acta adds three to coaching staff

Acta adds three to coaching staff

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CLEVELAND -- Manny Acta's coaching staff is nearly complete.

Acta and the Indians announced Monday that Tim Tolman, who served as the Tribe's Minor League field coordinator earlier this decade, is rejoining the organization as Acta's bench coach, while Scott Radinsky is being promoted from Triple-A pitching coach to big league bullpen coach and Steve Smith is coming aboard as Acta's infield and third-base coach.

These moves, in addition to the appointment of Tim Belcher to the pitching coach post earlier this month, leave Acta with just two more major vacancies to fill -- hitting coach and first-base coach. The expectation is that those spots will be filled between now and the start of the Winter Meetings in December.

"We're pretty close," Acta said of completing the staff. "I'm headed down to Venezuela to talk to [Jon] Nunnally and [Dave] Hudgens, who are internal candidates. From then on, we'll make our decisions."

Nunnally is the hitting coach at Triple-A Columbus, while Hudgens is the Indians' current Minor League field coordinator.

Tolman, 53, has former ties to the Tribe and to Acta. The two worked together in the Astros' player-development system and in Washington, where Acta was the manager of the Nationals and Tolman was his third-base coach in 2007 and '08. In fact, Tolman was Acta's manager in Acta's final year as a player in the Astros' system in 1991.

"He's a bright baseball mind," Acta said of Tolman. "I feel very comfortable with Tim. He managed me in the Minor Leagues. I feel he's a guy who can really help me. He's never been afraid to talk to me, and that's very important for a bench-coach type of guy. He's also very familiar with our system."

A former outfielder and first baseman for the Astros and Tigers, Tolman played professionally from 1978-89 and played in parts of seven Major League seasons from 1981-87. When his playing days were done, he worked in the Astros' Minor League system from 1990-02 before joining the Tribe in '03 and spending four seasons working with Tribe farmhands. After two years on Acta's staff, Tolman spent the '09 season serving as the Mariners' Minor League coordinator of instruction.

When he was hired by the Indians last month, Acta said he places great value on having a reliable bench coach. He reiterated that belief Monday.

"[A bench coach is] a guy who's managing along with me," Acta said. "I can just turn my head and bounce something off him, and he's ready to answer right away. [And a bench coach is] a guy who's not afraid to let me know what he thinks, if we're going along with the right decision or not. You've got to have a guy you trust and is available to talk to you."

Radinsky, 41, was passed over for the Tribe's bullpen coach job last year when the Indians dismissed longtime coach Luis Isaac and replaced him with Chuck Hernandez.

This time around, the Indians are giving the nod to Radinsky, who is well respected by many of the Tribe's young arms who have come up through the system. He'll work closely with Belcher to repair a bullpen that has tripped up the team, the past two seasons.

"He's done a great job for this organization in Triple-A," Acta said of Radinsky. "He shows a lot of passion and knows what it takes. He has a good knowledge of the game and a great personality. He's one of those guys who players tend to gravitate toward. He's a good complement to our staff."

Radinsky made 557 relief appearances over 11 seasons with the White Sox, Dodgers, Cardinals and Indians, compiling a 42-25 record with 52 saves and a 3.44 ERA. Since joining the organization as a coach in 2004, Radinsky has spent the past three years serving as pitching coach at the Triple-A level.

The 57-year-old Smith is a native of nearby Canton, Ohio, but he's new to the Indians. He has 11 years of Major League experience as an infield and third-base coach. He was with the Mariners from 1996-99, the Rangers from 2000-06 and the Phillies in 2007 and '08. In that span, he worked with Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins, who combined to win six Gold Glove awards under Smith's tutelage.

Acta said Smith's work with Michael Young when he was with the Rangers stood out.

"Guys won six Gold Gloves under this guy," Acta said. "He's a proven instructor, he comes from the outside and we're really happy to have him."

Smith, who played seven seasons in the Minors from 1976-82 and managed at the Minor League level for 11 seasons, was relieved of his duties by the Phillies following their '08 World Series title. Acta said the Indians did their research on Smith, talking to players who have worked under him in the past.

As for the work that remains with regard to the coaching staff, Acta did not reveal what defined role the first-base coach might have, aside from his work directing runners.

"We are still talking to some guys," Acta said, "and we're not defining that position to be a catching or outfield and baserunning guy yet."

Columbus manager Torey Lovullo had been a candidate for Acta's staff. It would appear Smith's appointment pulls Lovullo out of the running, as his specialty is working with infielders.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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