Acta pulls double duty after Smith's ejection
Besides managing, assumes third-base coach responsibilities
BOSTON -- For the second time in three seasons, manager Manny Acta found himself a helmet and left the dugout to work as a temporary third-base coach.
In the second inning of Friday's 7-5 loss to the Red Sox, Indians third-base coach Steve Smith was ejected after arguing a close play at the plate. Smith sprinted down the line and got in a few choice words before home-plate umpire Derryl Cousins sent him to the showers.
Acta manned the third-base coaches' box in the third inning.
"I'm just the one that is not so far removed from doing it," said Acta, who last worked as a third-base coach in 2006 with the Mets. "This is a very tough place to put somebody out there for the first time. I was doing it just six years ago, so it's not a big deal."
The play that led to Smith's early departure came with two outs and Jack Hannahan on second base for the Indians, who trailed by a run at the time. Jason Kipnis sliced a pitch from Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz to left field, and Smith waved Hannahan around third to try to score.
As Hannahan slid into home, Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia blocked the plate and received the relay throw from left fielder Daniel Nava. Hannahan appeared to kick Saltalamacchia's left foot up during the slide, but Cousins called him out and the inning came to an abrupt halt.
"You don't have the benefit of the replay like everybody else when you're on the field," Acta said. "Apparently, Hannahan did beat the throw, but he was blocked by their catcher. The replay shows that he never touched the plate."
Hannahan popped up from the dirt and argued with Cousins, but Smith soon took over in that regard. Cousins threw an arm up to signal Smith's ejection before Acta could reach home plate to break up the shouting match.
"First of all, Jack was arguing," Smith said. "Jack's more important than me, so I'm going to step in and take it. That's all I know. That's basically it. ... Whether he touched [the plate], or his foot was up, it didn't matter. When I saw Jack arguing, you have to protect your players."
Smith was also ejected from a game at Fenway Park in 2010 during an on-field incident that also earned him a three-game suspension. During that Aug. 3 contest, Acta also assumed the third-base coaching duties. Overall, Smith has 11 career ejections.
Acta -- in his third season as Cleveland's manager -- worked as a third-base coach for the Mets in 2005-06 and with the Expos from '02-04. He also held that role in the Minor Leagues before breaking into the big league coaching ranks prior to his managerial career.
"That's something that I was going to be doing if I didn't get this job three years ago," Acta said. "I don't forget where I come from, and I'm not saying I wouldn't do it again. I've seen plenty of people go back and do it."