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Saturday, March 9
Red Sox might interview one more candidate

Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Batting third in the lineup of Boston Red Sox managerial candidates was former Montreal manager Felipe Alou, who interviewed for the job Saturday.

Red Sox officials, who interviewed Grady Little and Mike Cubbage on Friday at their spring training camp, whisked Alou to an undisclosed location shortly after he arrived. No decision was expected until Monday.

Boston's new bosses -- owner John Henry, president Larry Lucchino and interim general manager Mike Port -- say there could be at least one more candidate.

"Whoever comes over is fine,but there's no doubt that I have the experience of playing for Felipe," said Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez, who played for Alou in Montreal. "At that time, he proved to me that he could be the best manager in baseball."

Alou, 66, canceled a fishing excursion on Florida's east coast to meet with the team's new leadership in Fort Myers, according to the Boston Globe. The Dominican would be Boston's first minority manager.

"I made the trip across the state of Florida because I want to manage," Alou told the Globe. "I wanted to send a message. There are people out there who think I don't want to manage, but I'll never announce my retirement.

"Maybe when the next Latino manager shows up on the horizon, then I will, but I look around and see only me. I'd like to continue on."

Alou, hired by Dan Duquette in Montreal, turned down the Boston manager's job when Jimy Williams was fired last year. Alou managed the Expos from 1992 until he was fired last May.

The firing of Alou's former pitching coach, Joe Kerrigan, created Boston's vacancy. Kerrigan, let go last Tuesday, worked under Alou from 1992 to 1996.

The team wants to make a decision as soon as possible -- opening day is in three weeks -- but officials have refused to set a deadline.

They have up to six candidates in mind, Port said, but Oakland denied Boston permission to interview bench coach Ken Macha.

Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker would not reveal if Boston asked to speak to Houston bench coach Tony Pena. He said he would grant permission if Pena is a "serious" candidate.

"If the Red Sox ask for permission on Tony Pena or any other candidate from the Astros for that matter, and tell us they are a serious candidate for their managerial position, we will grant permission," Hunsicker said in a statement.

Other ex-major league managers mentioned are Jim Fregosi and Buck Showalter.

The Red Sox haven't called Minnesota general manager Terry Ryan seeking permission to talk to former Twins manager Tom Kelly.

"I can tell you if I do hear from the Red Sox, I'll announce it," Ryan said Sunday.

Martinez won't endorse any candidates, but was close to Alou during his four years in Montreal.

"If it is Felipe, I'll be happy. If it's Grady, I'll be happy, too," he said. "Me and Grady got along well when he was here. We had a good relationship. It's hard for me to have a preference."

Little, Cleveland's bench coach, was Boston's bench coach from 1997 to 1999.

Trot Nixon said players aren't worried about all the off-field activity.

"It doesn't really matter to me," he said. "I don't get paid to do their job. My job is to play baseball."

Since the new owners took over Feb. 27, Duquette, Kerrigan and the team's top scout were fired. Two scouting officials and consultant Doug Melvin have been added.

Alou, whose record with the Expos was 691-717, managed Montreal to winning records in four of his first five seasons.

Since then, however, the Expos finished no higher than fourth in the NL East, despite seeing their payroll -- which remains among the lowest in the majors -- quadruple since 1998. From 1998 to 2000, the team lost at least 94 games each season.

Alou was the winningest manager in team history but was fired last May with the Expos at 21-32.

In August, Alou last year cited uncertainties regarding team ownership when he turned down Duquette's offer to come to Boston.

Cubbage, 51, is in his first season as Boston's third-base coach and has a .602 winning percentage in six years as a minor league manager. Little, 52, spent 16 years as a minor league manager.

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