Charles in charge: Nagy joins Indians front office

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Former Indians pitcher Charles Nagy was hired by Cleveland on Wednesday as a special assistant to general manager Mark Shapiro.

Nagy, who won 129 games in 13 seasons with the Indians, will spend most of his time evaluating talent in Cleveland's minor league organization.

"It's good to be back," Nagy said, sitting in the Indians' dugout at Jacobs Field before the series opener against the Detroit Tigers. "I'm excited about this."

The 36-year-old was a model of consistency as one of the AL's most durable pitchers until elbow injuries slowed him the past few seasons. The Indians chose not to re-sign Nagy (pictured, above) following last season.

He went to spring training with San Diego and pitched in four games this season for the Padres, who attempted to send Nagy down to Triple-A in May. Nagy declined the assignment and became a free agent.

Nagy held out hope he would be picked up this season, but no team showed any interest. Although he hasn't formally retired, he knows his playing days are probably over.

"The phone just wasn't ringing," he said, "and with every passing day it (accepting retirement) got easier and easier."

Nagy said he and Shapiro had been discussing a role for him in the organization for the past two years, and the right-hander realized during a stint last season at Triple-A Buffalo that he wanted to stay in baseball.

"I enjoyed working with the kids," Nagy said.

Nagy will spend the rest of this season watching some of the Indians' prospects. On Tuesday night, he visited Cleveland's Lake County (A) affiliate and Thursday he'll be in Akron to watch the Double-A Aeros.

Nagy hasn't ruled out becoming a coach some day.

"I have no timetables and no expectations," he said. "No illusions. I'm just excited about learning and offering some insight to players."

The three-time All-Star made 192 consecutive starts for the Indians from 1993-2000.

"As an organization, we could not be happier to bring Charles Nagy back into the Cleveland Indians family," Shapiro said. "Charlie had a major impact in the resurgence and success of this franchise and has been a model of professionalism both on and off the field since joining us."

Nagy went 129-103 with a 4.51 ERA in 297 starts for Cleveland and finished his career ranked in the top 10 in strikeouts (1,235), starts and wins. He was named one of the club's 100 greatest players in 2001.

Nagy had his best season in 1996 when he started for the AL in the All-Star game and finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting after going 17-5 with a 3.41 ERA.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)