Brad Mills pinch-hit for boss
MIAMI — Among the most unlikely All-Stars was a former 17th-round draft pick with one career home run.
Brad Mills didn’t swing a bat Tuesday night. But he did pinch-hit.
The Cleveland Indians bench coach managed the American League team as a replacement for Indians Manager Terry Francona, who is recovering from a procedure last week to correct an irregular heartbeat.
“Getting this responsibility is very humbling,” Mills said. “I’m thrilled to be here, but I definitely would love to have Terry sitting here in this chair.”
If not for Francona’s health issue, Mills, 60, would have taken part in the game as a coach. Now he’s responsible for running a 32-man team and getting most of the players into the game.
He had some help with the starting lineup from Francona, who paid Mills a visit before the Indians’ game Sunday.
“When he came in the clubhouse he sat down, and the first thing he said to me is, ‘OK, who’s hitting second?’ ” Mills said. Both knew it was a given Jose Altuve of the Astros would lead off. Jose Ramirez of the Indians was second.
Mills was assisted by the rest of the Cleveland staff and by Tampa Bay Manager Kevin Cash, who previously worked for the Indians.