Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tim Tolman battling Parkinson's
DETROIT -- In his final game as the Cleveland Indians' bench coach amid a battle with Parkinson's disease, Tim Tolman took over as acting manager Wednesday night following Manny Acta's first-inning ejection.
The 55-year-old Tolman says he was diagnosed with the disease two years ago. He spoke with reporters before Wednesday night's season finale at Detroit, then took over as manager when Acta was thrown out in the first inning.
After Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera struck out to end the top of the first, plate umpire Dan Bellino suddenly made an ejection signal toward the Indians' dugout. It wasn't immediately clear who was tossed, but it turned out to be Acta.
Tolman expects to remain with the organization in an unspecified role.
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative brain illness that causes problems including tremors, rigidity and slow movements. It affects about one in every 500 people. There is no cure, but some drugs help control symptoms.
"I think there's some slowness of movement involved that doesn't allow me to do some of the things that I want to do," Tolman said. "It's time for me to step away, make sure that I'm getting the right treatment and that we keep a handle on it."
Tolman has spent two seasons with the Indians, joining the club when Acta took over as manager. Tolman was on Acta's staff in Washington.
"He was still helpful to me, but I think he realized that it was hard on him and his family," Acta said. "All the traveling and all that kind of stuff. It becomes hard."
Tolman stood in front of reporters in a tunnel behind Cleveland's dugout a couple hours before the game and discussed his situation.
"I have two families -- I have this family and my family at home," Tolman said. "I have to take care of my wife, who has been great through this whole thing. I wouldn't be able to get through it like I did without her help."
First-base coach Sandy Alomar has been picked to replace Tolman in Cleveland's dugout next season, although Alomar may be a candidate for Chicago's managerial opening now that Ozzie Guillen has left the White Sox for Florida.
Acta said he wouldn't do anything to stop Alomar from leaving for that job.
"Not if he's going to go over there and manage," Acta said. "We would never get in the way of people moving forward."