| Detroit Free Press
Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila explains manager search, offseason expectations
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila speaks with reporters Friday, October 2, 2020, following his team’s season to share offseason expectations.
The Detroit Tigers are reportedly planning to interview former player George Lombard for the open managerial position.
Currently, Lombard serves as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first-base coach.
Yet an interview hasn’t been officially scheduled, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, because the Dodgers are in Arlington, Texas, for the National League Division Series. Game 1 against the San Diego Padres is scheduled for Tuesday.
[ The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Detroit Tigers content. ]
For subscribers: Here’s who the Tigers should target as their next manager
Lombard can’t leave the playoff bubble for an in-person interview. Likewise, Tigers general manager Al Avila can’t join him in Arlington for a face-to-face conversation. However, Avila said Friday the first few rounds of interviews will take place over Zoom video conference calls.
“In the event that candidate is still in the playoffs or World Series, we may have to wait until November or, obviously, after the World Series,” Avila said Friday. “At this time, I really don’t know where it’s going to end. Right now, we’re not in a rush. We’re kind of taking our time with it.”
Lombard played for the Tigers in 2002 — the second of four big-league teams in his career. He was with the Atlanta Braves 1998-2000, Tigers in 2002, Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003 and Washington Nationals in 2006. He logged 16 seasons professionally but only played 114 MLB games with a career .220 batting average.
For the Tigers, Lombard took the field for 72 games, producing a .241 batting average, five home runs and 13 RBIs. That year, the Tigers finished 55-106. Manager Phil Garner was fired six games into the season, forcing bench coach Luis Pujols to take over as the interim manager.
After his release from the Cleveland Indians in 2009, he became a minor-league hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox in 2010. He earned the role of Boston’s minor-league roving outfield and baserunning coordinator in 2012 before the Atlanta Braves hired him in the same capacity in September 2015.
Three months later, Lombard joined the Dodgers as the team’s first-base coach. Along with those duties, he has expertise in teaching baserunning and outfielding.
As a manager in Boston’s farm system, Lombard led the Rookie Gulf Coast League Red Sox in the 2011 and 2012 seasons, compiling a combined 59-61 record.