The Toronto Blue Jays look like they're close to finding a replacement for Cito Gaston.
According to Boston's WEEI.com and Comcast Sportsnet New England on Wednesday, Toronto has narrowed its list of managerial candidates to three finalists: Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale and pitching coach John Farrell, along with former MLB catcher Sandy Alomar Jr.
But multiple sources with knowledge of the process could not confirm that, with conflicting views of whether Blue Jays third base coach Brian Butterfield has been eliminated or not.
The status of Los Angeles Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke, San Diego Padres bench coach Rick Renteria and Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin couldn't be confirmed, either.
One person definitely out of the running is Blue Jays bench coach Nick Leyva, who said Wednesday he was recently "eliminated" by general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
Leyva added that he's hoping whoever ends up the new manager will consider him for his staff.
"I've been a manager, I've been an infield guy, I've been a bench guy, I can do a lot of things," Leyva said in a brief interview. "With my versatility and knowledge of the organization, I can help whoever the new guy is.
"But I understand that any new guy will want to surround himself with his own people."
Announcement next week?
One source suggested a new manager could be chosen by week's end in order to give him time to assemble a coaching staff in time for a possible announcement next week.
But all that is speculative as Anthopoulos continues to operate in radio silence, unwilling to issue specific information on his process.
If Hale, Farrell and Alomar are indeed the final three, they each bring something different to the table.
Hale, who could be the front-runner, was a highly regarded minor league manager, winning multiple awards for his work. He has been with the Red Sox since 2006.
Hale has the most managing experience of the trio, having led teams at several different levels of the Red Sox organization for seven years, plus two more with Oklahoma, the Texas triple-A club.
He joined the Rangers' big-league staff in 2002 and after four seasons as their first base and outfield coach, joined the Red Sox in 2006 as their third base coach. The 49-year-old was named bench coach last year.
Farrell has ties with LaCava
Farrell, a pitcher in the major leagues from 1987 to 1996, has been Boston's pitching coach since 2007.
The 48-year-old went over from Cleveland after five years as the Indians' director of player of development. His time with the Indians would have included a year of crossover in 2002 with Tony LaCava, now the Blue Jays' assistant GM.
Alomar, 44, older brother of famed Blue Jays second baseman Roberto Alomar, was a six-time all-star catcher who played 18 seasons of big-league ball. In 2010, he acted as first-base coach for the Cleveland Indians, and for two years before that was the New York Mets' catching instructor.
Butterfield, 52, has been a coach with the Blue Jays since 2002, serving under managers Carlos Tosca, John Gibbons and Gaston. He'd be a popular pick with the team's players as manager, but would have some other job options if he is passed over, particularly in Baltimore, where close friend Buck Showalter is the manager.
On Tuesday, word that they were out of the running went to Rob Thomson, the New York Yankees third base coach from Sarnia, Ont.; Dave Martinez, the Tampa Bay Rays bench coach; Luis Rivera, the manager at Toronto's AA affiliate New Hampshire Fisher Cats; and Sal Fasano, manager of the Lansing Lugnuts, the Jays' A-level minor-league affiliate. Thomson and Martinez had been thought to be strong candidates for the position.
Because of the long list of managerial vacancies in the majors this year, Anthopoulos has refrained from giving specific updates on his progress.