The 34-year-old Wedge becomes the youngest skipper in the Majors. Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon, 43, had been the
big league's youngest manager. Wedge is the second-youngest manager in club history, behind Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau, who was 24 when he became the club's player-manager in 1942.
In his new duties, he will be working with many of the ballplayers he had at Buffalo.
His first task, though, will be to put together a staff. Wedge has already extended an invitation to Skinner to return as the third base coach, and Skinner has accepted that offer.
Shapiro said Wedge will have the freedom to remake the staff to fit his management style. They will talk about men who are now on the coaching staff, but Shapiro said Wedge will not be forced to keep anybody he is not comfortable with.
"To sum it up, the reason why we felt Eric was the right choice was I feel confident Eric is a difference-maker," Shapiro said. "There are a few managers on that board that when they get in that dugout and on that field ... they are difference-makers. They give their teams an edge; they give their teams an advantage. You know they're going to have a chance to impact a game and a season.
"I'm confident that Eric will be a difference-maker for us in our transition and beyond."
Wedge, displaying the self-assuredness of a more seasoned manager, seemed to echo Shapiro's view. He talked about how he embraced the challenge of leading men, and he didn't sound as if he was afraid of the daunting challenges this rebuilding organization had given him.
"I will get the most out of my ballplayers," said Wedge, who will get married in two weeks. "We will show up, and we
will find a way to get it done. We'll get out there and get after it, day in and day out.
"We're gonna have some ups and downs here in the next year or two. But rest assured we're gonna move in the right direction."
In his 5th season as Cleveland's skipper, Eric captured the A.L. Central title
in 2007 and won the first round of the Division Series by beating the Yankees. However, Cleveland lost the ALCS to Boston.