WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) - Jeff Datz was hired as the Cleveland Indians' bench coach Wednesday to replace Grady Little, who left to manage the Boston Red Sox.
Datz, 42, had been the club's field coordinator -- overseeing minor league operations during spring training and the regular season -- since 1999.
He'll now work with manager Charlie Manuel, helping him with the daily duties of running the Indians.
"I'll bounce things off him and he'll bounce things off me," Manuel said.
Datz and Eric Wedge, manager of the club's Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, were the only candidates interviewed for the job.
"I thought about it for a long time. With either guy I couldn't go wrong," Manuel said. "The reason that it took so long is because I liked both guys. I thought it was important that we got somebody within the organization."
Little was hired by the Red Sox on March 11 after spending two seasons with the Indians.
Datz joined Cleveland's organization in 1991 as an area scout and worked six seasons as a minor league manager. He led Buffalo to the International League title in 1998.
Drafted in the 19th round in 1982 by Houston, Datz caught seven games for the Detroit Tigers in 1989.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)