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Red Sox interview Cubs’ Will Venable, Pirates' Don Kelly for manager job

Will Venable was the Cubs' third base coach during the 2020 season.
Will Venable was the Cubs' third base coach during the 2020 season.Ed Zurga/Getty

The Red Sox managerial search is officially underway.

According to major league sources, the Red Sox have interviewed Cubs third base coach Will Venable and Pirates bench coach Don Kelly for their managerial vacancy.

Venable, 37, spent parts of nine seasons in the big leagues as an outfielder with the Padres, Rangers, and Dodgers from 2008-16 before joining the Cubs in late 2017. Initially hired as a special assistant to Cubs president Theo Epstein, Venable instead ended up coaching first base in 2018 and 2019 before being elevated to third base coach in 2020.

Venable, the son of former big leaguer Max Venable, was a two-sport athlete at Princeton (basketball and baseball) before embarking on his pro baseball career. Those who have worked with him suggest that he adeptly blends traditional baseball sensibilities and old-school feel with modern analytical perspectives.

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He also connects easily with players, in part because of his calm demeanor and because he remains mindful from his own career — in which he was a .249/.315/.404 hitter — of the game’s difficulty. He is inexperienced as a manager but considered a tremendous baseball mind who will eventually land in that spot.

“He should be managing someday, if not now,” said one major league source.


Kelly, 40, spent parts of nine years in the big leagues with the Pirates, Tigers, and Marlins between 2007-16, playing all nine positions in his career. He joined the Astros as first base coach in 2019 before moving to the Pirates as bench coach in 2020.

Don Kelly was interviewed by the Red Sox for their vacant managerial job.
Don Kelly was interviewed by the Red Sox for their vacant managerial job.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

While many have assumed that a return of Alex Cora as Red Sox manager is a likely outcome of the search to replace Ron Roenicke, major league sources expect the Red Sox to conduct a thorough search with a number of candidates.

Cora is currently on MLB’s restricted list while serving a yearlong suspension for his role in the Astros' sign-stealing practices in 2017; his suspension will conclude at the end of the World Series, at which time he will be free to interview with teams.

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Beyond Cora, the Sox are expected to consider a number of up-and-coming candidates who haven’t managed. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman suggested that they could have interest in Dodgers first base coach George Lombard, a former Red Sox minor league instructor. It is believed that the Red Sox will wait until Los Angeles concludes its postseason run before contacting the Dodgers should they desire an interview with Lombard.


Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on twitter at @alexspeier.