INDIANAPOLIS – The wait to find out the next manager of the Indianapolis Indians is over.
2017 Tribe skipper Andy Barkett left for a job with the Boston Red Sox back in November, leaving Indianapolis after just one season. On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced their minor league field staff and the Indians’ new manager will be former West Virginia Black Bears (Pittsburgh’s Short Season Single-A club) manager Brian Esposito.
Esposito will be accompanied by pitching coach Stan Kyles, hitting coach Ryan Long and assistant coach Greg Picart. Kyles returns for his fourth season as Indians pitching coach, while Long and Picart join Esposito as newcomers in Indy.
Esposito, 38, spent the 2017 season with West Virginia in the New York-Penn League and led the Black Bears to a 40-35 record.
Overall, Esposito has four seasons worth of minor league baseball managerial experience. He owns a 233-195 (.544) record during that span, with stops in Jamestown and West Virginia (both Single-A clubs). He was also an assistant coach in Indianapolis in 2013.
Esposito was drafted by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2000 MLB Draft and played 13 professional seasons. He bounced around the league, playing with seven different organizations, and made appearances in three major league ballgames. His debut came with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007, just one game, before appearing in two more games in 2010 with the Houston Astros.
Kyles serves as the Tribe’s lone mainstay on the coaching staff. Kyles led the Indians to the fourth-best team ERA in the International League in 2017 at a 3.48 clip. Over his first three seasons in Indianapolis, Kyles’ pitchers have combined for a 3.29 ERA. That mark is good for second in the IL over that timeframe.
Long enters his tenth season in the Pirates organization, but his first with the Indians. He served as West Virginia’s hitting coach over the last two seasons alongside Esposito, while coaching the High-A Bradenton Marauders and Double-A Altoona Curve in the past as well. Long was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the second round of the 1991 MLB Draft.
Picart comes to the Tribe after serving as an assistant coach for the 2017 Eastern League champion Curve. He was drafted by the Pirates in the 23rd round of the 2003 MLB Draft. Picard actually played with the Indians briefly in 2011 and 2012, picking up his lone hit with the team at Victory Field on April 16, 2012.
The Tribe open the 2018 season in downtown Indianapolis on April 6. Game time is slated for 7:15 p.m. against the division rival Columbus Clippers.