Loretta weighs in on Lowell, Ausmus

NEW YORK -- Mark Loretta played just one season for the Red Sox, general manager Theo Epstein letting him go to make room for a kid second baseman named Dustin Pedroia. No shame in that.

Loretta, probably best remembered for his Patriots Day walk-off home run in 2006, was teammates with third baseman Mike Lowell that season, and also played with catcher Brad Ausmus with the Astros and Dodgers.

Both Lowell and Ausmus have been mentioned as out-of-the-box candidates to replace Bobby Valentine as Red Sox manager. Neither has prior managing experience. The 38-year-old Lowell, who retired as a player after the 2010 season, has been working as an analyst for MLB Network. The 43-year-old Ausmus, who also retired as a player after 2010, is a special assistant with the Padres, as is Loretta.

Loretta shared his thoughts on the suitability of both men for the job.

“As you know, both Brad and Mike are former teammates of mine, and both great guys,’’ Loretta wrote in an e-mail. “They both are extremely well respected around the game. I think both of them would connect well with players, which I think is one of the most important parts of managing.

“I can't speak for Mike, but I know Brad is interested in managing at some point. Whether it’s now or down the road a bit I think depends on the team. It's tricky for players who have just retired from long careers to balance the desire to spend time with their families and the potential opportunity of managing right away.

“The idea of recently retired players taking over without managerial experience is interesting. I'm glad to see that [Mike] Matheny and [Robin] Ventura have been successful so far. In the end, it's about having good players who stay healthy and perform.’’

The Red Sox have not yet announced the fate of Valentine, but he is not expected to return for the 2013 season. An announcement could come as soon as Friday.