Francona gets vote from Schilling

Updated: November 24, 2003, 9:55 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox managerial search got a whole lot more interesting on Monday.

Soon after Texas Rangers first base coach DeMarlo Hale became the fourth person to interview for the job, Boston general manager Theo Epstein was wooing free agent closer Keith Foulke at the Boston Celtics' game against the New York Knicks.

Next up for Epstein is believed to be a trip to Arizona to try to persuade All-Star pitcher Curt Schilling to waive his no-trade clause and accept a tentative trade to the Red Sox. Or so Schilling said in a news conference outside his suburban Phoenix home, where he put in his vote for Terry Francona, who has already been back for a second interview and also met with owner John Henry.

"I have made it known that he would be a reason I'd be interested in going to Boston," Schilling said of Francona, his manager when they were with the Phillies. "I only said that because it was my understanding that he was a slam-dunk for the job anyway. I love the guy. He's a great manager."

Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach and former Red Sox infielder Glenn Hoffman, and Anaheim Angels coach Joe Maddon have also interviewed for the job. The Red Sox are expected to make a selection before the winter meetings in New Orleans begin Dec. 12.

The Red Sox let Grady Little go after he averaged 94 wins in two seasons because his managerial philosophy didn't match Epstein's reliance on preparation and statistics.

The problem came to a head when Little left tiring ace Pedro Martinez in for the eighth inning of Game 7 of the AL championship series against the New York Yankees. Martinez blew a 5-2 lead, the Yankees won in 11 innings and Little never managed another game for Boston.

Hale said he considered statistical information one resource among many.

"You have to use your resources when you talk about trying to cover everything and be prepared," he said. "But in the dugout, you're looking into the eyes of your players, too. You do see things that may influence your decisions."

Hale, who is black, said that before coming to Boston he checked to make sure he wasn't being interviewed merely to satisfy the commissioner's requirement that teams consider minority candidates.

"In talking to Theo, I feel very comfortable that I came here as a legitimate candidate," he said. "I did my research. ... There's no negative for me coming out here."

Epstein also insisted that there was more to the interview than making a quota.

"Talk to him for 10 minutes and you'll see he's a legitimate candidate," Epstein said. "He did a lot of great things in this organization. When you earn a reputation of his caliber, that means a lot."

Hale, 42, played and coached in the Red Sox system, managing seven years from Single-A Fort Lauderdale to Double-A Trenton and working with current Boston players Nomar Garciaparra, Lou Merloni and Jeff Suppan. In 1999, Hale moved up to Triple-A to manage the Rangers' affiliate in Oklahoma City; he has been the first base coach for the Rangers the past two seasons.

"There were no bad feelings. They (the Red Sox) wanted me to go back to Double-A, but an opportunity came and I took it," Hale said. "I'm glad I did it."


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press