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Sveum in Sox driver's seat

Manager candidate meets owners today

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / November 16, 2011

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MILWAUKEE - The job is his to lose at this point. If Dale Sveum makes a good impression on Red Sox principal owner John Henry and team chairman Tom Werner today, he could be their new manager.

Henry, Werner, and team president Larry Lucchino arrived at the Pfister Hotel last night for Major League Baseball’s owners meetings. They will break away early this afternoon to meet with Sveum at a different location. If Sveum fits their expectations, the Red Sox could call off plans to name a second finalist.

General manager Ben Cherington said a potential second finalist has not yet been determined. That is a sign of how highly regarded Sveum is when compared with Sandy Alomar Jr., Gene Lamont, Torey Lovullo, and Pete Mackanin.

Sveum, the hitting coach of the Milwaukee Brewers, was with the Red Sox as third base coach from 2004-05. His major league managerial experience is limited to 12 games for the Brewers at the end of the 2008 season. But Cherington sees Sveum as being able to work closely with the baseball operations department and having the kind of personality to return discipline to the clubhouse.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know him,’’ Henry said.

But Henry said he has no plans to hire a manager in the next few days and mentioned Lovullo as somebody he would have interest in speaking with.

Henry, Werner, and Lucchino are scheduled to leave here tomorrow and Cherington is flying to the Dominican Republic on Friday. Any meeting with a second finalist may have to wait.

“At this point it’s possible it won’t happen in Milwaukee. We’re still working through that process,’’ Cherington said. “We’re still narrowing in on at least one other finalist. It’s a combination of that and logistics.’’

Cherington said he fully expects a second candidate to emerge. But he also said that could change.

“As in every question I think I’ve answered about this, or most every question, I can’t rule anything out,’’ he said. “But I would expect that there would be at least one other candidate discussed.’’

The Cubs are another factor. They also interviewed Sveum and reportedly will meet with him again today.

The Red Sox have been searching for Terry Francona’s replacement for 46 days, taking a very methodical approach to the process. But that pace could quicken if there’s direct competition with the Cubs for Sveum.

“It is a factor, I guess, because a lot of the candidates are similar,’’ Cherington said. “As I said before, we’re going to have a manager, the Cubs are going to have a manager. I’m not sure that the right person is the same person for both jobs. But we don’t have the field to ourselves, and that is a factor. It probably affects the timing more than anything.

“But I do think the jobs are different and the same person is not necessarily the right fit for both jobs.’’

Chicago appears to be more focused on Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, who turned down a chance to interview with the Red Sox but did interview with the Cubs.

Maddux turned down the Red Sox because he was concerned with the distance from his wife and two daughters in Texas. That apparently is an issue with Chicago, too.

“It’s still something he’s weighing,’’ Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said. “It’s a big factor.’’

Hoyer, a former Red Sox executive, acknowledged that the Cubs are keeping an eye on what Cherington is doing.

“Right now, we’re just focused on getting all the answers and answering the questions we need to have answered. We’re not focusing on the Red Sox and what they’re doing. We’re trying to make sure we make the right decision for the Cubs.’’

The Cubs also interviewed Mackanin and Alomar. Francona and bench coach DeMarlo Hale were interviewed over the phone.

Cherington said the Red Sox would welcome Hale back in the organization but said they did not feel he fit their needs for a manager given the team’s September collapse and his association with Francona.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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