Mills to manage AL in Francona's absence

Indians skipper undergoes heart procedure Thursday

July 7th, 2017

CLEVELAND -- As a result of Indians manager Terry Francona's successful heart procedure Thursday, the Indians announced on Friday that bench coach Brad Mills will assume the role of manager for the American League in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX).
Mills, who has been filling in as the Tribe's skipper while Francona has been hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat, along with the entire Indians coaching staff and five players will make the trip to Miami to represent the Indians.
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"Well, I think that the staff was excited even before," Mills said. "We were excited to have [Francona] be the manager down there and we were excited to represent the American League and represent the Cleveland Indians because of what we did last year.
"If T's not going to be there, I think the staff is ready to kind of step up and all share in those duties, and we're all excited about it, to be able to do the same thing as when we were headed down there to be with him."
With Francona not at the helm, Mills said he has relied and will continue to rely on the other members of the staff to take bigger roles with in-game duties.

"[Mills is] a little more jittery than Tito," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway joked. "No, it's been fine. I think Millsy has been leaning on me with the pitching moves and he's taking care of the rest."
Mills has served as the Tribe's bench coach since the team hired Francona in 2013, and previously was a part of Francona's staff in Boston and Philadelphia.
In addition to the Indians' coaching staff, Rays manager Kevin Cash will be the AL's bench coach. Cash played for Francona and Mills with the Red Sox from 2007-08, and was a member of Francona's coaching staff with Cleveland in '13 and '14.
"Obviously, he's been concerned about T as well," Mills said of Cash. "So, we've talked about that a little bit and then also the All-Star Game. But being such close friends with Cashy is really going to be helpful down there, and with his experiences as well. It's going to be fun for everybody -- the whole staff."

Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said that he is confident in Mills and the Indians' staff.
"Well, I think the recognition that they're getting is certainly well-deserved," Antonetti said. "Our collective preference would've been to have Tito as part of that staff and have everyone share in that together. But, with that not happening, we're still really proud about our staff and representing the organization down there. I think it speaks, as Millsy said, to some success we had last year."