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<  Shannon Drayer

Mariners zeroing in on a manager

By Shannon Drayer

Monday update: Johns is reporting Tim Wallach is a finalist as well.

The Mariners appear to be in the home stretch of their search for the next manager as general manager Jack Zduriencik's list has been narrowed down to possibly as few as three and second interviews taking place.

As I reported Friday, former Mariners infielder Joey Cora has interviewed and is a finalist. A team source has confirmed a report from Greg Johns of MLB.com stating that Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon is also a finalist. CBSSports.com adds Athletics bench coach Chip Hale to the list as well.

Former MLB catcher Brad Ausmus was thought to be a favorite but was named the Tigers' manager Sunday.

With Ausmus out, it looks like the Mariners will buck the trend of hiring a manager without managerial experience as Cora, Hale and McClendon have all managed at various levels with McClendon managing the Pirates from 2001-2005. All three have also interviewed with Zduriencik for the manager position with the Mariners in the past.

There had been some thought that the Mariners would interview Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo once the World Series ended, but according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, as of Sunday morning no team had asked permission to interview any of Boston's coaches.

If the list of finalists for the Mariners is indeed down to just three, we should see a manager named this week.

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