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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ausmus gets his shot at Red Sox post Wednesday

DETROIT – In six years with the Houston Astros, reliever Brad Lidge must have made the statement dozens of times.

Someday, Lidge would say, Brad Ausmus will be a successful major league manager. ...

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DETROIT – In six years with the Houston Astros, reliever Brad Lidge must have made the statement dozens of times.

Someday, Lidge would say, Brad Ausmus will be a successful major league manager.

“I know we had all talked to Brad at one point or another about if he would manage some day,” Lidge said Tuesday via e-mail. “I guess we just figured there would be no one better for the job.”

On Wednesday, Ausmus will interview for the Red Sox’ managerial opening, becoming the third known candidate to interview for the position since Bobby Valentine was fired on Oct. 4. And although the veteran catcher hasn’t managed on the professional level, save for a handful of games for Israel’s entry in the World Baseball Classic qualifier, he ranks among the most intriguing possibilities.

Ausmus, 43, spent 18 seasons in the majors with the Padres, Tigers, Astros and Dodgers. Since his retirement after the 2010 seasons, he has spent the past two years working as a special assistant in the Padres’ baseball operations department. He’s a native of New Haven, Conn., and a graduate of Dartmouth College, giving him knowledge of the pressures that come with managing the Red Sox.

And while his path to being a manager isn’t conventional, it’s similar to both Robin Ventura and Mike Matheny, who worked in baseball operations before taking over as managers and having successful debuts this season with the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.

A year ago, the Red Sox prioritized experience, interviewing only candidates who had managed at least in the minor leagues and ultimately narrowing the field to Valentine and Gene Lamont, far and away the most seasoned candidates. But team president Larry Lucchino recently said the success of both Ventura and Matheny would compel the Sox to broaden their search, leading them to Ausmus.

“He took charge in Houston and no one can read hitters and the game like he can,” Lidge said. “He has the respect of players already, so that is a huge starting point.’’

I would place him in the mold of a (Yankees manager) Joe Girardi or Mike Matheny, low key but a brilliant baseball mind. I would not be surprised if Brad took a team to the playoffs very soon after he became a manager.”