Padres' Bochy interviews for job as Giants' manager

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Diego Padres manager Bruce Bochy interviewed with the Giants in San Francisco on Thursday about their managerial opening.

The Giants received permission from the Padres on Wednesday to talk to Bochy, who met with general manager Brian Sabean the next day about becoming Felipe Alou's successor.

"If he's available and that's a reality, we'd have to go forward and interview the man," said Dick Tidrow, the Giants' vice president of player personnel.

A meeting between Bochy and Sabean needed to happen immediately as Bochy is set to leave Monday for Japan to manage a group of major leaguers in an exhibition tour. He replaced Boston Red Sox skipper Terry Francona, who withdrew because of health reasons.

Bochy, who has one year left on his contract, and Sabean already had an informal conversation about the job. A call to Bochy's cell phone was not immediately returned Thursday.

Padres general manager Kevin Towers already was preparing for Bochy's possible departure.

"We certainly have to do our due diligence to come up with a list of candidates ourselves, a group of people we would probably interview if Bruce ends up leaving," Towers said in a phone interview. "I would imagine we'd know something by the weekend, because it probably would be hard to negotiate with Bruce going to Japan."

Bochy, 51, who just finished his 12th season as Padres manager, has guided San Diego to back-to-back NL West titles and is the winningest manager in Padres history. He has spent the last 24 years in the organization, dating to his playing days.

He is due to make $1.9 million in guaranteed money in 2007 and would be San Francisco's most expensive choice among the club's top candidates. But his experience might give him an edge. Sabean has said he would prefer someone with previous managerial experience.

Giants first baseman Mark Sweeney, who played for Bochy in San Diego for 3½ seasons, believes his former skipper would be a good fit in San Francisco -- and he expects his team to make a swift decision considering Bochy's time frame.

"I don't know what they're going to be doing but I don't think it's just a walkthrough session," Sweeney said. "If they're looking for experience, I think Boch is that guy. The one thing it's going to do -- and it's good for our organization -- is if there are potential free agents looking for a manager to play for, Bochy's that guy. It would definitely benefit us in getting some free agents who might go elsewhere. I just think that goes a long way in deciding a team. It adds to it that you get a guy who has that credibility and experience."

San Francisco, which has 11 potential free agents including Barry Bonds, did not renew the 71-year-old Alou's contract after the Giants finished their second straight losing season and third in a row out of the playoffs.

The Giants on Monday interviewed New York Mets third-base coach Manny Acta. Giants bench coach Ron Wotus and Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Bud Black also have interviewed. None has major league managerial experience.

Black is expected to interview with the Oakland Athletics about their managerial opening and could become a candidate to replace Bochy if he leaves for the Giants.

Bochy's Padres made the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time ever but were eliminated in the first round for the second straight year by the St. Louis Cardinals. San Diego did win a postseason game for the first time since clinching the NL pennant in 1998.