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BOSTON -- Ben Cherington, the new general manager of the Boston Red Sox, said he will move swiftly, diligently and methodically in an attempt to find a new manager for the club.
Even before the Red Sox officially named Cherington to his new post, with former GM Theo Epstein having one foot out the door on his way to the Chicago Cubs as president of baseball operations, Cherington and president/CEO Larry Lucchino had already begun the process of filling the vacancy.
During Epstein's introductory press conference in Chicago, he admitted the Boston managerial search has been Cherington's domain for the last couple of weeks.
"We've done a lot of due diligence over the past couple of weeks," Cherington said. "That was one of the benefits of the uncertainty that we could work behind the scenes and do a lot of research and do a lot of questions of potential candidates, so we've narrowed a list down to a probable first group of interviews."
Cherington said that he's not prepared to say who those candidates are because the Red Sox haven't asked for permission to talk with anyone at this point. He also said he won't go into the process with any preconceived notions about who is the favorite or have any bias in any direction.
"We expect we will start the interview process soon and we do have a short list of candidates," he said.
Cherington said there will be a "handful" of interviews, declining to cite a specific number.
There was some speculation that the Red Sox would ask the Toronto Blue Jays for permission to talk with current manager and former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, but the Blue Jays announced Tuesday morning that they were changing their company policy and would no longer allow employees to pursue lateral moves to other organizations.
There's a strong possibility that current Blue Jays first-base coach Torey Lovullo, who spent one season with the Red Sox as the manager at Triple-A Pawtucket and has a long-standing relationship with Cherington, along with incoming assistant GM Mike Hazen, could be on the short list.
"Previous managerial experience will be a benefit, but we're not going to put ourselves in a box by requiring that," Cherington said. "We'll certainly consider those who have previous major league managerial experience, but also those who don't. We need the right person and I don't think we can afford to put ourselves in any sort of box in our effort to find the right person."
Cherington said the team will give consideration as to whether they think candidates will be able to work in the intense Boston market.
Cherington also said he would ask candidates for their take on what happened during the Red Sox's September collapse and how they would have handled it.
It will no doubt be a painstaking process for Cherington, but he's confident he will find the right manager for the Red Sox for 2012 and beyond.
Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.