CLEVELAND -- The future of baseball is coming to Cleveland.
And when it does, it will be managed by a pair of names from the Indians' past.
As a part of the MLB All-Star week festivities in Cleveland next month, Progressive Field will host the annual All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, July 7. On Tuesday, the event announced that former Indians standouts Jim Thome and Dennis Martinez will manage the American League and National League squads, which will feature the top minor league prospects across baseball.
This year will mark the first time in the game's 21-year history that it will take on an A.L. vs. N.L. format. For the first 20 years of the event, it was the U.S. vs. the World, which featured the top prospects from the United States against their internationally born counterparts.
This year's game will also return to the seven-inning format that was originally played in the inaugural Futures Game in 1999. First pitch for the contest is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Inducted into the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame last summer, Thome spent 13 seasons of his 22-year Major League career in Cleveland, where he amassed a franchise record 337 home runs, 937 RBIs and a .287 batting average. In addition to his duties as a manager in the Futures Game, he'll serve as an official All-Star Game ambassador alongside Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and former catcher Sandy Alomar Jr.
Martinez, meanwhile, only spent three of his 23 big league seasons with the Indians, although he did earn one of his four career All-Star appearances in Cleveland in 1995. From 1994-96, the Nicaraguan born right-hander totaled a 32-17 record to go along with a 3.58 ERA and 239 strikeouts.