Lucchino says search for Sox manager in 4th inning

Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington (right) huddles with team President and CEO Larry Lucchino while Milwaukee Brewers baseball hitting coach Dale Sveum conducts a news conference after interviewing for the vacant Boston Red Sox manager position at Fenway Park on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011, in Boston.
Elise Amendola | AP
Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington (right) huddles with team President and CEO Larry Lucchino while Milwaukee Brewers baseball hitting coach Dale Sveum conducts a news conference after interviewing for the vacant Boston Red Sox manager position at Fenway Park on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011, in Boston.
Posted Nov. 03, 2011, at 9:49 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 03, 2011, at 11:30 p.m.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said Thursday that the team’s search for a new manager is in about the fourth inning.

Lucchino appeared in Hartford with former major league manager Bobby Valentine in a program put on by the World Affairs Council on the global rise in the popularity of baseball.

“My assessment would be we’re in the fourth inning, maybe the middle of the fourth,” Lucchino told The Associated Press before the panel discussion. “We have interviewed only two people in terms of formal interviews, so we’re still doing due diligence on other names.”

Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum and Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin have been brought in for formal interviews. In addition, the Cleveland Indians have given the Red Sox permission to interview bench coach Sandy Alomar.

Lucchino said it’s natural Valentine’s name would also come up in discussions, but both men denied they had talked to each other about the job.

“He’s a great man and a great manager and he has a colorful and successful history, so his name inevitably comes up in this day and age,” Lucchino said.

Valentine managed 15 years with the Texas Rangers and New York Mets, a team he took to the World Series in 2000. He also won the Japan Series in 2005 with the Chiba Lotte Marines. He now works as an analyst for ESPN.

“I have a great job, and I wouldn’t insult my employers by saying I’m interested in another job,” Valentine said. “I have two more years on my contract with ESPN and I’m very thankful for that.”

Valentine has some of the qualifications that Lucchino acknowledged the Red Sox are looking for, including the ability to handle a “pressure cooker” such as Boston and experience with players from all different cultures.

“It’s helpful,” Lucchino said. “Over 50 percent of the players in baseball are from places outside the United States. And so, having some comfort, familiarity, cultural references I think is a key part of the job.”

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