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Cubs offer manager job to Dale Sveum; Mike Maddux backs out

Milwaukee Brewers manager Dale Sveum center talks with Corey Hart left J.J. Hardy right during baseball team's workout Tuesday Sept.

Milwaukee Brewers manager Dale Sveum, center, talks with Corey Hart, left, and J.J. Hardy, right, during the baseball team's workout Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008, in Philadelphia. The Brewers will face the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Wednesday in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

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Updated: December 18, 2011 5:27PM

MILWAUKEE — Assuming the Boston Red Sox don’t start —and win — a bidding war for Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum on Thursday, the Cubs are about to take another key team official away from the Red Sox’ brass.

Sveum, a finalist for both teams’ managerial vacancies, was offered the Cubs job Wednesday after early front-runner Mike Maddux indicated family concerns would keep him from accepting a move from Dallas, where he has been the Rangers’ pitching coach the last three seasons.

The two other candidates who interviewed in Chicago in the last two weeks — Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. — were ruled out earlier in the week, according to sources.

Red Sox officials late Wednesday told media that they planned to widen their search. But general manager Ben Cherington said that the Cubs’ actions didn’t drive that decision and didn’t eliminate Sveum, who’s widely perceived as the Red Sox’ favored candidate.

An announcement on Sveum’s hiring in Chicago was expected by Friday.

‘‘Dale’s a good guy, a good, solid baseball guy,’’ said Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who had Sveum take over his 2008 playoff team for the last 12 games of the regular season and into the postseason after firing Ned Yost.

But Melvin hired Ken Macha for that job ultimately, and Sveum returned to the coaching staff.

‘‘We just felt we wanted to go outside,’’ said Melvin, who gave Sveum an interview in that process. ‘‘It’s somewhat of a philosophy. . . . Coaches that become interims in September, I don’t always feel they have a lot of success the following years. I haven’t seen where that works a lot. So I just felt we needed to go outside to get a fresh face, fresh voice, whatever.’’

Sveum, 47, did a second round of interviews with both teams this week, including meetings with owners for both teams.

The Cubs would not confirm that Sveum had been offered the job.

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledged only that the team had reached out in recent days to all four candidates who interviewed in Chicago.

‘‘We’re entering the stage of the process where we’ll probably play our hand a little closer to the vest,’’ Hoyer said.

Asked if that meant he and team president Theo Epstein had picked their man, Hoyer said, ‘‘It means we’re at a stage where we’re going to keep information a little tighter. It’s a process where multiple teams are looking for a manager, and we’re going to keep things close to the vest.’’

‘‘Nothing has been discussed beyond the interview process,’’ Sveum told ComcastSports New England on Wednesday afternoon. ‘‘It’s kind of a stalemate now. The process is finished; it’s just the decision-making process now. We’ll wait and see.’’

He was not available for comment later in the evening when more details became evident.

Maddux, whose two daughters go to college in the Dallas area, said from the start of the process that family issues might eventually prompt him to stay in Texas. His family finally reunited there this summer after his wife and younger daughter stayed behind in Milwaukee until she finished school.

‘‘We’ve had continuing discussions with him [about that],’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘And we’ll keep that between the parties.’’

Rangers president Nolan Ryan, a strong supporter of Maddux for years, said he hadn’t pressed Maddux for his thoughts or perceived status.

‘‘I’m not sure why they’re waiting as long as they have to make an announcement,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘I’m not sure how they left it.

‘‘If he were to get that job, we’d really miss him because he’s done an awfully good job for us. He’s a big part of what we’ve accomplished.’’

Maddux did not return texts, e-mails and voice mails seeking comment for the last two days.

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