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Rockies to interview Runnells for managerial job

Rockies to interview Runnells for managerial job

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Rockies to interview Runnells for managerial job
DENVER -- The Rockies will interview Tom Runnells for their vacant manager's job on Thursday, the club said Wednesday.

Runnells, 57, has been with the Rockies' organization since 2004, and was the Major League bench coach from May 2009 through last season, throughout Jim Tracy's tenure as manager. Tracy resigned Sunday, and Runnells will be the first candidate to formally interview with Bill Geivett, the Rockies' senior vice president of Major League operations.

Runnells, who managed the Montreal Expos in 1991 and 1992, is the first of two in-house candidates. The other is Stu Cole, who took over at Triple-A Colorado Springs after Runnells was promoted to Tracy's staff and has managed the team since.

Several candidates have been identified in the media, such as Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach, Phillies third-base coach Ryne Sandberg and onetime Rockies catcher Brad Ausmus, who is working in the Padres' front office. Jason Giambi, who has played for the Rockies since late 2009 and would retire as a player to become a manager, also has been mentioned.

The Rockies are looking at statistical analysis of 20 years of playing at a high altitude in an effort to turn it into an advantage, so familiarity with the organization could be a plus in a new manager. Runnells managed at Double-A Tulsa in 2004 and 2005, with playoff finishes each year, and was at Triple-A for three-plus seasons before joining Tracy's staff.

The Expos opportunity came when Runnells was 36, which at the time made him the Majors' youngest manager. After ending his Major League career with the Reds in 1986, he managed a playoff club at Double-A Vermont, a champion at Double-A Chattanooga and a champion at Triple-A Indianapolis. Runnells joined the Expos' Major League staff in 1990 and was promoted to manager on June 3, 1991. He went 68-91 (.456) before being replaced by Felipe Alou.

Runnells spent 11 years in the Tigers organization after that.

It's not clear when the Rockies will interview Cole, a former player in the organization who has managed for the club since 2001.

In other developments, onetime Major League manager and current Triple-A hitting coach Rene Lachemann has emerged as a candidate for either of the Rockies' newly vacant coaching staff positions, hitting coach and third-base coach. Lachemann, who had managerial stints with the Mariners (1981-83), Brewers (1984), Marlins (1993-96) and Cubs (one game in 2002) has spent the last five years with the Rockies' organization. Current Rockies first base coach Glenallen Hill could be in the mix for the hitting coach job.

But in both cases, the result will be dependent upon the managerial decision.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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