Sandy Alomar Jr. brings a unique quality to his bid to become the next manager of the Red Sox: He never has managed before.
When Alomar retired as a player after the 2007 season, it was with the goal of becoming a manager. But instead of taking the traditional path of going to the minor leagues and gaining experience, he remained in the majors as a coach, believing that best would prepare him.
“Some people take different routes. I choose this way,’’ said Alomar, who interviewed at Fenway Park yesterday. “I learned tremendously on my own. I feel like I’m prepared to manage a major league team.’’
His decision eventually should pay off. Alomar is widely respected within the game for his presence and baseball acumen. He was a finalist with the Blue Jays last fall, and this year the Sox and Cubs are considering him.
“He’s an impressive guy,’’ said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. “Lot of respect for him in clubhouses. He sees the game really well.
“Despite not managing a game, he sees the game very much like a manager does. It was a great opportunity to get to know him.
“He’s going to be a major league manager in 2012 or sometime after that.’’
The Red Sox already have interviewed Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum. Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo, the former Pawtucket manager, is scheduled for tomorrow, with Detroit third base coach Gene Lamont set for Saturday.
The new manager is almost sure to be one of those five.
“Wouldn’t rule out adding another person. But there are no plans to,’’ Cherington said. “Our hope as we get into next week and the GM meetings would be to narrow that down some, still with the goal of having somebody in place before Thanksgiving.’’
Cherington said he would present a “very small, short list’’ of candidates to the owners.
“I may have a personal preference on who the next manager is,’’ he said. “They clearly have an important voice in this decision.’’
Team president Larry Lucchino has been involved with the interview process. Principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner have yet to meet any of the candidates.
Lamont was a late addition to the group when Cherington decided he wanted to consider somebody with lengthy major league managerial experience. Lamont was 553-562 with the White Sox and Pirates but hasn’t managed since 2000.
Alomar, a former catcher, spent 20 seasons in the majors with seven teams before retiring in 2007. He hit .273 and was a six-time All-Star.
Alomar helped the Indians to the World Series in 1995 and ’97, and faced the Red Sox in the Division Series three times. He was a teammate of Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in Texas in 2005.
After retiring, Alomar joined the Mets as a catching instructor for two seasons before returning to the Indians as first base coach and catching coordinator in 2010. If he remains in Cleveland, Alomar will be the bench coach under Manny Acta next season.
Cherington was a video advance scout in Cleveland in 1998 when Alomar played there.
“He didn’t know who I was,’’ Cherington said, “but I saw him in the clubhouse. I was in the clubhouse all the time and I saw the leader he was back then and the respect he had in that clubhouse. I’ve been following him since then.’’
Indians GM Chris Antonetti, who has given Cherington advice on searching for a manager, highly recommended Alomar.
Alomar’s brother, Roberto, is a Hall of Fame second baseman. Their father, Sandy Alomar Sr., played 15 seasons in the majors and has been a longtime coach. As Cherington said, few families know more about the game.
But can Alomar handle the transition to becoming a manager? He has yet to even be a bench coach.
“It would be a big jump anywhere in the major league level,’’ said Alomar, who readily acknowledged that lack of experience is his weakness as a candidate. “But Boston is a [tough] market, I understand that.
“Anywhere you manage is going to be a big step for you.’’
Alomar, said Cherington, performed well on the game simulations that are part of the interview. The Red Sox also value his leadership and communication ability.
Asked how he would proceed as a manager, Alomar said, “Earn their respect right away. They want to see what you’re going to do. People see how you behave.’’
Alomar said he was “overwhelmed’’ with the opportunity to interview with the Red Sox.
“Man, the fans here bring it,’’ he said. “There’s a lot of excitement. You have to come ready to play here.’’