- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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Lovullo, 46, is the fourth person interviewed by Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, joining Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum and Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr.
Current Detroit Tigers first-base coach Gene Lamont will be the fifth and final candidate interviewed when he meets with the Red Sox on Saturday at Fenway Park, and Cherington said there are no other plans to bring in anyone else at this point.
"We wouldn't completely rule it out, but there are no plans to right now," the GM said.
The search may already be over though, as team sources say that Cherington is extremely high on Sveum.
Lovullo, a former major league player with the Tigers, New York Yankees, California Angels, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Indians and Phillies, managed in the minor leagues for nine seasons following his playing career.
He spent eight seasons in the Indians organization before the Red Sox hired him to be their Triple-A manager at Pawtucket in 2010.
Known for his strong leadership qualities and baseball sense, Lovullo earned the opportunity to interview for the current manager's job with the Red Sox based on the organization's familiarity with him as a person and a professional.
"He did a great job," Cherington said. "We knew him pretty well before but this was the first time we got a chance to talk to him about this particular role. It was a good opportunity to get his insight on being a manager in Boston and how he would transfer the skills we know he has to this particular job. He's a passionate guy and he cares about players. He's creative, smart and hard working. He's a guy we already know and could work with effectively."
But simply because the Red Sox are familiar with Lovullo's work ethic doesn't necessarily give him an advantage over the other candidates.
"I wouldn't say it's a leg up because of that," Cherington said. "It was one of the factors that led us to want to talk to him more about this job. Each of the candidates has their own particular strengths and he has his particular strengths. Right now we're not giving anybody a leg up, we're going to get through tomorrow and use next week to try to figure out who has a leg up."
Lovullo was given an opportunity to discuss his philosophies and visions and how it would translate at the big league level since he has never managed in the majors. Despite his lack of big league managerial experience, he believes he's qualified for the job in Boston.
"Who's to say when the time is right? Who's to say the guy's right? I worked a long time to get this opportunity," Lovullo said. "I worked a long time in this game and had some great mentors and managers that I played for, gentlemen like John Farrell, who I have had a chance to work with that have helped me get this opportunity to sit down in this seat. I feel like I'm ready."
Lovullo was also quick to point out that there will be those naysayers who think he can't manage the Red Sox.
"If I do get this opportunity I can assure you of one thing: I will be passionate and I will not be outworked. I will be prepared. I will try to set forth my vision with a team that will go out each and every day and give 100 percent of their effort," Lovullo said.
During his one season in the Red Sox organization as the manager at Triple-A Pawtucket, Lovullo said he learned first-hand what Red Sox Nation is all about.
"It's real and you don't know exactly what it's like until you're a part of it," Lovullo said. "It's a pretty spectacular place. Does it give me a leg up on the competition? I'm not certain. I feel very comfortable with the surroundings, the people and their concepts and I'm fortunate for that."
Lovullo has a close working and personal relationship with Blue Jays manager John Farrell. When Farrell left the Red Sox organization as its pitching coach to take the managerial job in Toronto before last season, he took Lovullo with him to be the club's first-base coach.
"I had a chance to see what that level of baseball is like and I was very excited to get to that level as a staff member," Lovullo said. "I was able to work once again with John Farrell, who I've learned a great deal from over the years, and I had a chance to see him lead people."
Lovullo said his decision to leave the Red Sox organization after only one season was a difficult one, but he also knew coaching at the big league level was an important career step.
"I found a home and I was comfortable in this working environment. I felt like I was here to stay," he said. "I would be here for as long as I was needed and wanted, but obviously everybody knows my relationship with John Farrell and he came and asked if I would move across the border and for me to get my first opportunity to get to the big league level was important for me and I couldn't think of a better guy to learn from."
Farrell has been supportive of Lovullo and gave him some advice before he came to Boston for his interview.
"'Be yourself and enjoy the experience,'" explained Lovullo. "'Have fun and answer the questions as thoroughly as possible.'"
This isn't Lovullo's first opportunity to interview for a vacant managerial job in the big leagues. He was a candidate with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006 and with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007. He explained that this process with the Red Sox was similar to his past experiences with other organizations, but Cherington & Co. put Lovullo through a simulated game activity with certain situations that occurred during last season.
After meeting with the local media for nearly 18 minutes, he stood up, shook some hands and walked off confident.
"I feel like I'm qualified and I'm ready because of the experiences I've had in this game," Lovullo said. "I can't see a better place in this world to be the manager."
Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.