Source: Cubs interview Eric Wedge

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have begun their formal process of finding their next manager, according to a major league source.

Former Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge had a face-to-face interview with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry on Thursday in Cleveland, as Hendry searches for a replacement for retired manager Lou Piniella.

Wedge managed the Indians from 2003-09, winning the American League Manager of the Year Award in 2007, when he guided the Indians to the ALCS, only to lose to the Boston Red Sox after going up 3-1.

Wedge, 42, won over 500 games with the Indians, including a first-place finish in 2007 and finishing second in 2005 behind the world champion Chicago White Sox.

Wedge, who resides in Richfield, Ohio, was fired by Cleveland after the 2009 season. The Indians are paying Wedge through this season.

The former major league catcher, originally from Ft. Wayne, Ind., was an All-American at Wichita State and was on the 1989 Shockers team that won the College World Series.

At that time, Hendry was the head coach of league rival Creighton University. That's when Wedge first caught Hendry's attention.

Wedge played parts of four seasons in the majors after being drafted by the Red Sox in the third round of the 1989 amateur draft. Eight surgeries ended his career in 1997.

He began his managing career in 1998, and he won minor league manager of the year honors in 1999 with Single-A Kinston, and at Triple-A Buffalo in 2001.

Wedge would have to be considered a top candidate for the Cubs job. Others to get interviewed will include Ryne Sandberg; former Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez and Washington Nationals coach and former Cubs minor league manager Pat Listach.

Mike Quade, the Cubs interim manager, also will get strong consideration. Friends of New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi have stated he would have strong interest in the Cubs job if he left the Yankees after the season.

Hendry has put a timeline of early November on the hiring of his next manager. The Cubs want their new dugout boss to be in place before the organizational meetings in November.

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.