The Cleveland Indians have received permission from the Angels to speak to bench coach Ron Roenicke about their managerial job, which opened when the team fired Eric Wedge in the final week of the regular season.
It was unclear Thursday when Roenicke, who has spent 10 seasons with the Angels under Manager Mike Scioscia, six as a third base coach and the last four as the bench coach, would interview for the position, or if he has already been interviewed.
Angels General Manager Tony Reagins would neither confirm nor deny the Indians’ interest. Roenicke, who interviewed for the Seattle job when the Mariners hired Mike Hargrove in 2004, declined to comment.
The Indians have reportedly brought several candidates back for second interviews, and they hope to have a new manager in place by the end of the World Series.
Among the other candidates are Manny Acta, former manager of the Washington Nationals, Bobby Valentine, who has managed the last six years in Japan, Don Mattingly, Dodgers hitting coach, and Torey Lovullo, who managed Cleveland’s triple-A team.
If Roenicke were to get the job, he would be the third coach off Scioscia’s staff to be hired as a manager, following Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay) and Bud Black (San Diego).
Out of left field?
Scioscia said he considered starting the switch-hitting Gary Matthews Jr. in left field in place of the slumping Juan Rivera for Game 5 Thursday.
He ultimately decided to keep Rivera, who bats right-handed, in the lineup against Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett, but he dropped Rivera from sixth to seventh in the order, behind the switch-hitting Maicer Izturis.
Rivera had a big two-run single in the eighth inning of the Angels’ division series-clinching win over the Boston Red Sox but through three hitless at-bats Thursday, including his fourth double play of the postseason, he was hitting .100 (two for 20) in the ALCS.
“Juan has been struggling a little bit, and we wanted to get a left-handed bat behind Kendry Morales,” Scioscia said. “Juan got some big hits in the Boston series. He has the potential to break out, so we want to stick with him.”
Scioscia’s faith in Rivera finally paid off in the eighth, which Rivera opened with a double to left-center, but pinch-runner Reggie Willits was stranded.
Jeff Mathis’ second-inning single, fourth-inning double and seventh-inning single Thursday gave the Angels catcher hits in six straight playoff at-bats, a club record. . . . Not only did the Angels’ four-run first inning mark the first time they scored in the first inning this postseason, it was the first time they scored in any of the first three innings of a game this postseason. . . . The six runs by the Yankees in the seventh inning were their most in a playoff game since they scored six in the fourth inning of Game 4 of the 2003 division series against Minnesota.