According to a report by Ken Rosenthal, the Astros manager search has progressed more quickly than had been previously reported. Houston has already interviewed Boston bench coach Torey Lovullo face-to-face on the Red Sox' off-day Monday.
Sources: #Astros met face-face with #RedSox’s Lovullo about managerial position on Monday. Interview took place on Boston’s off-day.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 26, 2014
Houston also has an interview scheduled with interim manager Tom Lawless set up for Saturday, as reported by Brian McTaggart.
Lovullo was one of five candidates Rosenthal previously reported had spoken to the Astros by phone. However, two of those candidates (Dino Ebel of the Angels and Rays bench coach Dave Martinez) denied having any talks with Houston shortly after the report went out.
Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle may have the best description of the managerial search yet here. In it, Drellich talks about the process and how much more circumspect the Astros have been about any news involving the search. What's interesting is that a source close to the process told Drellich what the Astros are looking for.
The front office doesn't want the brainiac who doesn't know baseball or who doesn't relate to players, the person said. The Astros are aware of and sensitive to the negative perception they've taken in some corners - cynics would suggest the Astros seek a front-office puppet - and they're attempting to set the record straight.
They know people think Luhnow just wants a puppet and they're trying to be sensitive to that. Make sense. Lovullo is one of three top candidates in my mind at this point, joining the two former managers in A.J. Hinch and Don Wakamatsu. I'd also put Dave Martinez on that list, but don't get the sense they're as high on him as fans may be.