Dave Turgeon will return to the team but as a coach.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- When Dave Turgeon was chosen to manage the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the 2001 season, he replaced friend and colleague Chris Bando.
The Cleveland Indians have decided Turgeon and Bando will work best together.
Finalizing their minor league coaching staff for the 2002 season, the Indians named Bando as manager of the Scrappers and Turgeon as a coach.
Pitching coach Ken Rowe and trainer Michael Salazar also return for the Scrappers, who begin their fourth year as the Indians' Class A short-season affiliate in the Mahoning Valley.
Close bond: But it's the duo of Bando and Turgeon that headlines the incoming staff.
"Dave spoke about Chris last year while he [Turgeon] was here," Scrappers general manager Andy Milovich said. "They have a really close bond in their professional relationship and personal relationship."
If Scrappers fans don't recall Bando as manager, it's because he held the position for a minimal part of the 2001 off-season.
When the Indians adjusted their parent club staff for the season, they needed to do the same at the minor league level.
Bando was reassigned to manage the Double-A Akron Aeros and Turgeon took the same role with the Scrappers.
"What they do with the major league club impacts all the way down," Milovich said.
Bando guided the Aeros to a third-place finish in the Eastern League with a 68-74 record. Turgeon's team at Mahoning Valley struggled to a 26-49 record and last-place finish in the seven-team Pinckney-Stedler Division.
"From Chris's standpoint, this is close to his home, Solon, and it's close to Cleveland," Milovich said. "And having Dave Turgeon back, it will help him [Bando] get settled in the community and in the league."
Background: Prior to rejoining the Indians organization, for which he played from 1981-88, Bando served as the director of coaching, player development and manager of the International Baseball League of Australia.
Bando also was the third base coach (1996-98) and a major league scout for the Milwaukee Brewers (1999), and he managed in the Brewers organization from 1990-95, compiling a 447-396 record.
"Based on his track record, he seems like a great fit," Milovich said. "He did an outstanding job at Akron. His team struggled early, but it played well in the latter half of the season.
"There's not a lot he hasn't seen in baseball," Milovich added. "It's always nice to see that type of experience."
Bando will attempt to lead a group of young players, most of whom will be college draft picks, to success in the New York-Penn League.
Mahoning Valley won the Pinckney-Stedler Division and reached the championship series in each of its first two seasons under manager Ted Kubiak, who will guide the Class A full-season Kinston Indians this season.
The Scrappers, however, took a step back in 2001.
"Dave got bashed last year unfairly," Milovich said. "At this level, you hope you have [major league] prospects or guys who are [at least] productive on the field. We didn't have much of either.
"Even though we may have made the same mistakes in previous years, we had the talent to overcome it."