CLEVELAND -- The Indians' coaching staff is set for 2020.
At the conclusion of the regular season, the Tribe noted that only bullpen coach Scott Atchison would not be returning next year. On Thursday, the club announced that Brian Sweeney will be stepping into Atchison’s role and Ruben Niebla will be promoted to the team’s assistant pitching coach.
Sweeney has been a coach with the Tribe for the last two seasons, compiling and decimating advance scouting reports and statistical data for the pitching staff. The 45-year-old will enter his sixth season of instruction after pitching at the professional level for 18 seasons (1996-2013).
Niebla’s promotion to the big league staff is not a surprise. Indians manager Terry Francona raved about Niebla’s work as their Minor League pitching coordinator all season long, especially after watching players like Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac thrive on the biggest stage with little experience in Triple-A.
The 47-year-old had spent the last seven years in his former role and completed his 19th year in the organization in 2019. Niebla was a Major League staff assistant in '10 and the pitching coach of the Columbus Clippers from '11-12. At the end of this season, Francona said that he sat down with Niebla to make sure he understood his contributions were not overlooked.
“He’s been a team player to the nth degree, and his expertise in what he does is so good,” Francona said in September. “We know everybody wants to be in the Major Leagues, and I explained that to him. I said, ‘I get it, man.’ I would never say to somebody, ‘This is your strength [to stay in the Minors].’ I don’t think that’s fair. But he’s done an incredible job.”