Acta touched by invitation to last year's ASG

Acta touched by invitation to last year's ASG

BALTIMORE -- Manny Acta expected it to be a typical Spring Training conversation.

Texas manager Ron Washington wanted to talk to the Indians manager after a game in Surprise, Ariz., last spring, but it was not to simply talk about the game. Washington asked Acta to be on his American League All-Star coaching staff.

"I couldn't stop a few tears," Acta said. "I just thought we were going to talk about baseball. When he dropped that, and asked me to be part of his staff, I was totally surprised. It was one of those moments that you always dream of."

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For Acta, that was his most memorable All-Star experience, given that it was his first All-Star experience. The manager -- now in his third season at the helm in Cleveland -- never even considered getting to the All-Star Game in that manner.

Acta thought he would have to make it to the World Series first.

"I was always thinking that the only way I could get to an All-Star Game," Acta said, "was if I won and became a manager in the World Series, but being able to go because somebody asked me to be part of their staff was pretty special to me."

Another surprise awaited Acta during the Home Run Derby at Chase Field last July 11.

While reading a book at his locker in the visitors' clubhouse, Acta heard Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez saying he did not have anyone to pitch to him in the Derby. Acta volunteered and wound up in the middle of a tightly contested slugfest between Gonzalez and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.

"I said, I'll throw to you if you don't care,'" Acta recalled. "So he said, 'Well, let's go.' We went to the cages and worked a little bit. I hadn't been throwing much over the season, as managers usually don't do that much it was a good experience."

Gonzalez made it to the final round and was bested, 12-11, by Cano. Overall, Gonzalez launched 31 homers to Cano's 32, making for a draining, but exhilarating experience.

"I couldn't lift my arm for like two weeks," Acta said with a laugh.

Acta will cherish his memories from last year's Midsummer Classic.

"It's something that I will never forget," he said.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.