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Friday, November 11, 2011
Cubs interview Sandy Alomar Jr.

ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. interviewed Friday for the Chicago Cubs' managerial opening.

The Cubs already have interviewed Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum and Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux as possible replacements for the fired Mike Quade.

After talking with four candidates, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said there is no leader at this point.

"It's still totally open for debate," Hoyer said. "We are going to get back and have some discussions and then probably have some follow-up conversations. We spent a lot of time with these candidates. Now we can think about some follow-up questions."

Hoyer said it's possible the Cubs could talk to more candidates.

"We feel really good about the four guys we brought in," Hoyer said. "We had four very good interviewees. I wouldn't rule out an additional candidate, but it's not a certainty either."

Hoyer confirmed that president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona are still in contact.

Francona told the Chicago Tribune that he is interested in the Cubs job, and Epstein has said a formal interview wouldn't be necessary, given the familiarity with Francona from their nine seasons working together in Boston.

Alomar, who also interviewed this week for the Boston managerial opening, spent parts of 20 seasons catching in the majors. He was the 1990 AL Rookie of the Year and a six-time All-Star for the Indians. He has been the first-base coach in Cleveland for the past two seasons and was named bench coach for the 2012 season by manager Manny Acta.

Alomar was impressed by the interview conducted by Epstein and Hoyer.

"They are very thorough with everything," Alomar said. "They don't leave any stone unturned. (In the interview) they go through every situation in the game. They are very professional about it. They are very bright about what they do. I had an opportunity to have an interview with Toronto last year. That was pretty good. But these guys take it to another level. It's kind of like what you see Jon Gruden doing with NFL quarterbacks (on ESPN) but more thorough. Kind of interesting.

"It was fun because they put you in managerial positions in order to make decisions fast. They see how you incorporate players you have on your bench and how you deal with pitchers you would have getting ready in those situations. Then they show you the outcome of the plays. I don't want to tell everything about how they do the interview but it was pretty interesting and very exciting."

As a former catcher, Alomar comes from a position that has produced many successful managers. But if Maddux is the choice, he would follow a recent trend in baseball of hiring pitching coaches as managers, joining San Diego's Bud Black and Toronto's John Farrell.

"It is a different perspective," said Hoyer, who worked with Black when Hoyer was GM in San Diego. "I was with Bud Black the last few years and the game is so much about pitching, pitching and defense. For the most part, teams that win have good pitching. Bud did a great job with position players as well. My sense is with Mike is that he would do the same thing.

"But the game is about preparation, pitching and defense. Right now you have Bud Black and John Farrell who are excellent managers who were pitching coaches."

In addition to looking for a manager, Hoyer said the Cubs have been preparing for the general manager meetings which begin Monday in Milwaukee.

"I think Theo and I are excited about going up to Milwaukee and having face-to-face conversations with the other (GMs)," Hoyer said. "We've had some pre-GM meetings to kind of lay the groundwork (on trades). But until we go up there and see them face to face, then it will intensify when we see what ideas other teams have and what players they have interest in because we haven't had that as members of the Cubs yet. So both of us are really excited to get up there and get started."

Hoyer added that talks with the Red Sox regarding compensation for Epstein coming to Chicago will continue at the meetings.

Information from ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.