CLEVELAND — If players had a problem with former manager Manny Acta, it wasn’t evident in the clubhouse a day after he was dismissed.
A number of his former players praised Acta, who was fired Thursday with the Indians in a tie with Minnesota for last place in the Central Division, placing much of the responsibility for the disappointing season on themselves.
“There’s really not much that the coaches do if they’re not playing on the field,” said second baseman Jason Kipnis. “The players have a lot of the responsibility for wins and losses. I had a good relationship with him. I definitely liked the guy and I wish him nothing but the best in the future.
“You know things like this happens when you have seasons like this. It’s unfortunate but it’s the way it happens. The Indians aren’t the only people that do stuff like this. When you have bad seasons, you look to make changes and better the organization from top to bottom and it just happens to be Manny this time.”
Outspoken closer Chris Perez, who has been critical of ownership and the front office, would not do the same where Acta was concerned.
“It wasn’t completely his fault,” Perez said. “All of the blame rests here in the clubhouse. Some of his managerial techniques may not have been the best in the long run, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t cost us ballgames. At the end of the day, it’s execution and pitches, and at the end of the day, it’s accumulation of talent. At the end of the day, he has to take the blame for that.
“I don’t know how the front office went about it. At the end of the day, the front office made the decision that he wasn’t going to help us get to a championship level anymore. At the same time, the players we’ve got in this locker room aren’t going to get there either. We’ve got to get better.”
There were rumors that Acta had lost the players in the clubhouse, but Kipnis disputed the notion.
“No one quit on him,” Kipnis said. “I thought was a stupid thing when I heard that. No one’s going up there trying to get out. No one’s trying to give up a home run. As a player, when you get up to this level, you have a little more personal pride than to ever quit like that, so I don’t think he ever lost the locker room.”
Kipnis is just the fourth Cleveland player in the last 25 years to record at least 10 home runs, 70 RBIs, 80 runs and 30 stolen bases in one season, joining Roberto Alomar (1999-2001), Kenny Lofton (2000) and Grady Sizemore (2007-08). Kipnis and the Angels’ Mike Trout are the only players in the majors to accomplish as much this year. … Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM. Gomez (5-8, 5.54) vs. Odorizzi (0-1, 5.06).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.