Mackanin, Alomar, Martinez on Sox' list of candidates

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Mackanin, Alomar, Martinez on Sox' list of candidates

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
While the issue of whether they have to soon find a new general manager, too, remains unsettled, the Red Sox Tuesday took the first tentative steps to drawing up a list of potential managerial candidates to replace Terry Francona.

Even as, on a parallel track, Red Sox ownership debates whether to grant the Chicago Cubs permission to speak with Theo Epstein about their general manager vacancy, the organization is forging ahead with a managerial search.

None of the "name" candidates -- Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Valentine -- are thought to be on the Red Sox' shopping list, as the club seeks a younger candidate, one more agreeable to working with others than a more established, veteran manager.

It's also unlikely that members of Francona's coaching staff, including DeMarlo Hale, will be interviewed. Hale is viewed as a top managerial candidate, but after some of the late-season issues the Red Sox experienced in the clubhouse, it's thought that a fresh start is necessary.

According to baseball sources, some of the candidates being discussed are still involved in the postseason, though one, Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, saw his club's season come to an end Tuesday afternoon when the Rays were eliminated in the American League Division Series for the second straight October by the Texas Rangers.

Martinez has served as the bench coach under Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay since 2008. In those four years, the Rays won one American League pennant and went to the postseason all four years.

Maddon, it should be noted, was the runnerup for the Red Sox' job in 2003 when the team hired Francona. Maddon is regarded as one of the best and most innovative managers in the game and Martinez has undoubtedly learned from him over the last four seasons.

Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackinin is another candidate, though at 60, he's older than any other candidate the Sox have considered.

Mackanin has served as Charlie Manuel's bench coach for the past three seasons, replacing former Red Sox manager Jimy Williams in that role.

Mackanin has also worked as a bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates and has managerial experience -- albeit brief -- in the big leagues, having served as interim managers for both the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

Another known candidate is Sandy Alomar Jr., the older brother of recent Hall of Fame inductee Roberto Alomar and the son of former major league infielder Sandy Alomar.

Alomar had a long, successful career in the big leagues, spent mostly with the Cleveland Indians. After his career ended, Alomar served two seasons as the New York Mets' catching instructor, before rejoining the Indians as, initially, their first-base coach and more recently, manager Manny Acta's bench coach.

He was on the short list of finalists to manage the Toronto Blue Jays last fall, before losing out to John Farrell.

Tony Pena, currently the New York Yankees' bench coach, has been discussed, but is thought to be less of a candidates than Mackanin, Alomar and Martinez -- among others.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.

Red Sox claim RHP Doug Fister off waivers, sign INF Jhonny Peralta

Red Sox claim RHP Doug Fister off waivers, sign INF Jhonny Peralta

BOSTON — They have the right idea, if not yet the right personnel.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has brought on a pair of former Tigers in an effort to help the Red Sox’ depth.

It’s hard to expect much from righty Doug Fister — who mostly throws in the 80s these days and is to start Sunday — or from Jhonny Peralta, who’s going to play some third base at Triple-A Pawtucket. Fister was claimed off waivers from the Angels, who coincidentally started a three-game series with the Red Sox on Friday at Fenway Park. Peralta, meanwhile, was signed as a free agent to a minor league deal.

Neither may prove much help. Fister could move to the bullpen when Eduardo Rodriguez is ready to return, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. The Sox hope E-Rod is back in time for the All-Star break.

That’s assuming Fister is pitching well enough that the Sox want to keep him.

But at least the Sox are being proactive looking for help, and it’s not like either Peralta or Fister is high-risk.

"Doug has been an established major league pitcher," Dombrowski said. "We’ve been looking for starting pitching depth. Really traced an unusual situation, because coming into spring training at that time, [Fister was] looking for a bigger contract guarantee at the major league level, and we didn’t feel we could supply at the time because we didn’t have a guaranteed position. We continued to follow him. ... we sent people to watch him workout and throw batting practice in Fresno where he lived. We continued to stay in contact with him. 

"We finally felt we were going to be able to add him to our major league roster, we made a phone call and he had agreed the day before with the Angels on the contract. They said he was in a position where he had made the agreement and signed a major-league contract, agreed to go to the minor leagues, but he had an out on June 21 if they didn’t put him on the big league roster. We scouted him two outings ago. One of our scouts, Eddie Bane, had seen him pitch before, recommended him, felt he could pitch in the starting rotation at the major-league level, that we should be interested in him."

Fister, 33, threw 180 1/3 innings last year with the Astros, posting a 4.64 ERA. He hasn’t been in the big leagues yet this season.

Said one American League talent evaluator earlier this year about Fister’s 2016: “Had a nice first half. Then struggled vs. left-handed hitters and with finishing hitters. No real putaway pitch. Has ability to pitch around the zone, reliable dude.”