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TRIBE TAPS BROWN TO LEAD HERD

Former major-league infielder Marty Brown has been chosen by the parent Cleveland Indians to manage the Buffalo Bisons in 2003.

Brown, 39, has been the manager of the Nashville Sounds in the Pacific Coast League the past two seasons. He will be introduced at a news conference Friday at Dunn Tire Park.

Brown posted a 72-71 record last season for the Pittsburgh Pirates' top affiliate, finishing just 2 1/2 games behind PCL East champion New Orleans. The Sounds were 64-77 under Brown in 2001.

Brown will replace Eric Wedge, who led the Herd to a 178-108 record the last two years and a pair of International League playoff berths. Wedge was named Cleveland's new manager last month.

The hiring of Brown is considered a surprise to those who have followed the Indians' minor-league operations since they came to Buffalo in 1994.

The Tribe has promoted its last four Buffalo managers -- Wedge, Joel Skinner, Jeff Datz and Brian Graham -- directly from Double-A. Former major-league outfielder Brad Komminsk appeared next in line to join that list and ascend to Buffalo after posting a 93-48 record last year for Cleveland's Double-A affiliate in Akron, Ohio.

The Indians opted to go outside their organization and hire a manager with Triple-A experience. With the Buffalo job filled, it's not clear if Komminsk will return to Akron.

Strangely enough, Brown's boss in Nashville this year was Graham, who is Pittsburgh's director of player development.

Brown, Komminsk and former Kansas City manager Tony Muser were the leading candidates for the job and had interviews with John Farrell, Cleveland's director of player development. Muser withdrew from consideration when he was named bench coach of the San Diego Padres earlier this month.

Brown played 35 major-league games as infielder for Cincinnati and Baltimore from 1988-1990.
e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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