Source: Red Sox-Bobby V talks on hold

BOSTON -- The Red Sox will not renew discussions with Bobby Valentine regarding the open manager's job until general manager Ben Cherington returns from his trip to the Dominican Republic, a source close to the process said Friday.

Valentine, 61, has emerged as a possible front-runner for the Red Sox job after the Red Sox elected not to offer a job to Dale Sveum, who on Friday became manager of the Chicago Cubs after being brought to Milwaukee for a second interview by the Red Sox. Sveum was the only candidate on Cherington's publicly announced list of bidders for the job, but Cherington has since acknowledged there is at least one other candidate, who has been identified as Valentine, and perhaps more.

On Friday, Valentine, currently an ESPN analyst, told The Associated Press that he expected to talk further with the Red Sox.

"I'm looking forward to having conversations, if that's what they want to do," said Valentine, who formerly has managed the Texas Rangers and New York Mets in the big leagues and the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan.

Valentine had a conversation with Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino in 2003, before Terry Francona was hired. During that process, Valentine also had come highly recommended to Red Sox majority owner John W. Henry by long-time Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.

While in Japan, Valentine also worked with the Red Sox after they established a working agreement with Chiba Lotte in 2007.

The Red Sox had initially hoped to hire a new manager before Thanksgiving, but before leaving for the Dominican Republic, Cherington acknowledged that might not happen. Cherington is in the Dominican scouting Cuban phenom Yeonis Cespedes and making changes in the team's international department.

The Red Sox's search for a new manager, begun while Theo Epstein was still general manager, began after Sept. 30, when the team announced that it was not exercising the two-year contract option it held on Francona.

The Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox, Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals have all made managerial hires since the end of the season. The Red Sox's position remains the only one unfilled.

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.