Sandberg, Oquendo interview for Cardinals managerial job

Thursday, November 10, 2011
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona interviewed for the Cardinals job earlier this week. (AP file)

ST. LOUIS -- Hall of famer Ryne Sandberg and longtime Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo interviewed for St. Louis' managerial opening Wednesday.

Both interviews took place in St. Louis. Sandberg interviewed in the morning and Oquendo in the afternoon, a person familiar with the process said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

The Cardinals have interviewed six candidates as possible replacements for Tony La Russa, who retired after winning the World Series last month. The person said no more interviews were anticipated, although a decision is not expected until next week at the earliest.

"Obviously, it's a gem of a job," said former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, among the candidates, in a telephone interview.

The general managers' meetings Tuesday and Wednesday in Milwaukee could delay the process. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak did not respond to a request for comment.

Ryne Sandberg reportedly interviewed with the Cardinals on Wednesday. (AP file)

Sandberg and Francona, who interviewed Wednesday in Cincinnati, are the only candidates without St. Louis ties in the mix to succeed the 67-year-old La Russa, who managed two World Series champions and guided nine teams to the postseason in 16 seasons.

Francona, who parted ways with the Red Sox after eight seasons following a September collapse, said the Cardinals gave him no timetable. Francona declined to say whether he had other interviews scheduled.

"I think everybody's hopeful, and I'm probably no different from anybody else," Francona said. "It's not only their right, it's their obligation to get the right person.

"Maybe it'll be me, maybe it'll be some other person."

The Cardinals got permission from the Phillies to talk to the 52-year-old Sandberg, well-known by St. Louis fans from his playing career on their team's biggest rival. Sandberg managed Philadelphia's Class AAA team after four seasons managing in the Cubs' organization, but new president Theo Epstein ruled out Sandberg as a candidate for that team's managerial opening.

The 48-year-old Oquendo has been the third base coach the last dozen years in St Louis. He played his final 10 major league seasons with the Cardinals from 1986 to 1995 when he was nicknamed the "Secret Weapon" in a nod to his versatility.

After Francona left the Red Sox, there were reports players drank beer and ate fried chicken in the clubhouse during games. The Boston Globe reported the club was concerned he was "distracted," living in a hotel while separated from his wife and taking painkillers to deal with knee operations. Francona has said his personal life didn't affect his performance.

"I don't think I want to manage just to manage, but I was excited to talk to the Cardinals," Francona said. "I'm not desperate to manage, but I enjoy it."

Boston ended an 86-year championship drought in 2004, Francona's first season, when the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in the World Series. Francona also managed the Red Sox to a sweep of Colorado in the 2007 World Series.

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