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Red Sox’ Lovullo is up next in Cubs’ interview lineup

Updated: December 2, 2013 12:56PM

The Cubs’ managerial search kicks into the final stage with the World Series done and the race on between three teams with vacancies to land the top candidate — and some Cubs candidates involved with the two others.

Fresh off a World Series championship, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo is expected to finally be available for an interview, and the Cubs still expect to have a new manager in place sometime around the end of next week.

Veteran manager Eric Wedge formally interviewed this week. Highly regarded Padres bench coach Rick Renteria has had multiple follow-up talks. Former Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch, an assistant general manager in San Diego, remains in the mix. And another member of the Padres’ front office, special assistant Brad Ausmus, could sneak into the final conversation.

Lovullo, 48, could be a key to the process as it nears a conclusion — as a rising commodity and “manager in waiting,” according to Red Sox manager John Farrell, who brought Lovullo to Boston this year from his staff in Toronto.

“I think that whoever gets to sit in that seat is going to be in a really good situation and one that has stability and a long-term plan in place,” Lovullo told the Sun-Times this week.

The wild card in the process for the Cubs is that the Mariners and Tigers are deep into their own interview process, with Renteria linked to both jobs, and Ausmus and Lovullo linked to the Tigers’ opening.

Meanwhile, the uncertainty in the manager’s job affects other areas of business, in particular how the coaching staff gets reconfigured, with contracts of most of the 2013 staff having expired Thursday.

Pitching coach Chris Bosio is expected to return, but competition for top available coaches only gets keener the longer the Cubs go without hiring a manager.

Player-personnel decisions aren’t waiting. Four Cubs — catcher Dioner Navarro and pitchers Scott Baker, Matt Guerrier and Kevin Gregg — became free agents with the conclusion of the World Series.

Teams have five days to negotiate exclusively with their free agents. The Cubs are expected to explore an extension only with Baker, who spent most of this $5.5 million season continuing his rehab from Tommy John surgery.


Twitter: @GDubCub

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