Detroit Tigers interview two more candidates for manager job: Report

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Tigers managerial search continues to grow in numbers.

Instead of setting his sights on a small group of potential hires, general manager Al Avila is utilizing his long list of options. While waiting on A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora, who can’t interview for jobs until after the World Series because of their roles in the 2017 Houston Astros scandal, he is evaluating numerous other candidates.

Here’s who Avila has reportedly interviewed: Kansas City Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol, Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, Los Angeles Dodgers first base coach George Lombard, Tigers interim manager Lloyd McClendon, New York Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza, Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin, Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames and Chicago Cubs third base coach Will Venable.

[ How the Chicago White Sox made the Detroit Tigers’ manager search more complicated ]

Add two more to the list: Atlanta Braves catching instructor Sal Fasano, according to, and Oakland Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

“They’ve all been on Zoom,” Avila told the Free Press on Friday. “We’re getting ready for the second round, guys that we’re going to bring back for the second round. That’s where we’re at, so we’re going to start eliminating some guys. It’s going to definitely take us into after the World Series.”

[ Detroit Tigers manager search: Al Avila gears up for second wave of interviews ]

After Kotsay’s 17-year playing career ended, which included a .276 batting average, 127 homers and 720 RBIs in 1,914 games, he immediately joined the San Diego Padres — where he played from 2001-03 and 2012-13 — as a special assistant to the general manager in December 2013. One year later, he became the team’s hitting coach.

In November 2015, Kotsay went to the Athletics as their bench coach, and two years later he took the team’s quality control position. The 44-year-old’s front office, coaching and in-game expertise make him an attractive candidate.

[ A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora will be considered for Detroit Tigers’ manager position ]

Similarly, the 49-year-old Fasano spent 11 years in the majors as a catcher with nine teams, hitting .221 with 47 homers and 140 RBIs in 427 games. He played the entire 2009 season for Triple-A Colorado Springs, then an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, and retired at the end of the season.

By November 2009, Fasano went back to the Toronto Blue Jays, where he played in 2007, as the organization’s Single-A Lansing manager. The next year, in November 2010, he got a promotion to manage Double-A New Hampshire. He was named Double-A Manager of the Year in his second season with the Fisher Cats.

Fasano, before the 2012 season, earned the roving catching instructor job for the Blue Jays. He switched to Toronto’s minor-league pitching coordinator before the 2015 season and was fired in August 2016. 

By 2017, he returned to the majors for the first time as a coach as the catching instructor for the Braves  where he has been ever since.

[ Fredi Gonzalez missed out on Tigers manager job once. Is second time the charm? ]

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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