As the Boston Red Sox's manager search begins in earnest, we do not yet have a clear picture of who is on the team's short list to take Terry Francona's place. We are starting to learn, however, which candidates are unlikely to be among the finalists.
Neither Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo, who formerly managed at Triple-A Pawtucket, nor White Sox Triple-A manager Joe McEwing -- two outside-the-box choices popular among media prognostications -- are on general manager Ben Cherington's initial list of people he's interested in interviewing, according to a league source. That doesn't necessarily rule them out, but certainly does not bode well for their chances.
Earlier this week, the Blue Jays essentially crossed another potential Sox candidate off the list -- John Farrell -- when they changed their policy on allowing employees to leave the team for a lateral move. Farrell, who manages the Jays, is a former Red Sox pitching coach who was highly regarded by the front office in his time in Boston (2007-10).
Among those expected to get some consideration from the Red Sox include current bench coach DeMarlo Hale, Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A manager Ryne Sandberg, Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin.
Rays manager Joe Maddon, who himself was considered by the Red Sox for a managerial vacancy when the team hired Francona in late 2003, thinks Martinez is ready for a big league job.
"I know that he is ready in the dugout, for sure," Maddon told WEEI.com. "He's got a really good grasp of the game. He utilizes information well. His preparedness is very good. His ability to get what he needs to across to the players is very good, also. For me he's been invaluable because I do trust him with a lot on a daily basis. He takes a lot off my plate. I know he's able to do those things, and do them during the course of a game."
During his introductory press conference Tuesday at Fenway Park, Cherington said big league managerial experience was not a prerequisite in his search.
"The list of guys with big league managing experience on their resume who are clearly available is pretty short," Cherington said. "I don't think we can put ourselves in a box to just limit ourselves to that pool. We need to get the right guy. We're not looking for the next star manager, we're looking for the right fit for the Red Sox in 2012 and beyond."
One sleeper that hasn't generated any buzz but who could get consideration, according to an industry source, is Atlanta Braves first base coach Terry Pendleton. The former big leaguer has been on the Braves coaching staff for 10 seasons and also served as the club's hitting coach (2002-10) under legendary manager Bobby Cox.
Another possible long-shot candidate is former big league manager Ken Macha. After spending five seasons in the Red Sox organization (1994-98) as a minor league skipper, he served as the manager of the "Moneyball" Oakland Athletics for four seasons (2003-06), winning two division titles along the way.
Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.