Dodgers Settle on Six Candidates

General manager Paul DePodesta said Orel Hershiser will be the final candidate interviewed, meaning the Dodgers' next manager will be either Hershiser, Terry Collins, Jerry Royster, Alan Trammell, Ron Wotus or Torey Luvullo. DePodesta said he wasn't sure what day that interview will take place with the former Dodger pitching ace.

"At this point, it will be those six," DePodesta said. "We've talked to and about other people informally. But these are the candidates."

Owner Frank McCourt is interested in meeting with more than one finalist, meaning the process will be a little longer than expected.

And even if a decision would be made early in the week, the announcement will not be made until after the World Series, since Commissioner Bud Selig had discouraged the announcement of any such moves that might take away some of the importance of the series.

The recent announcement also takes former Detroit bench coach Kirk Gibson out of the candidate mix.

Hershiser is the only candidate with no previous managerial experience. But he has made no secret of his desire to manage -- and more specifically his desire to manage the Dodgers - and DePodesta seems reasonably convinced Hershiser is ready.

Hershiser, 47, has been the Texas Ranger pitching coach since June 2002. "It's difficult to curb my enthusiasm," he said. "It's one of only 30 jobs and the one with the team I grew up with and played for. So it's the chance of a lifetime.

"The Dodgers are one year removed from winning the division," Hershiser added. "They aren't a turnaround project. They have a great minor league system and talent on the big league roster.

I think Paul has done an outstanding job dealing with this process. They've been deliberate and diligent. I think they've handled it great. They haven't rushed.

"There is no question he is very bright," DePodesta said. "He is a leader, and he certainly understands what it takes to win. He was a 17th-round draft pick and not originally thought of as much of a prospect, and he made himself into ... possibly a Hall of Famer. It's hard not to like a guy like that, especially given his intelligence and history here with this organization.

"There is no doubt in my mind he has the capability, or we wouldn't be bringing him in. The fact he's the only (candidate) without managerial experience, I think that speaks to what we think of him and his capabilities."

The Dodgers will not be interviewing Hershiser for any front-office opening or as a replacement to pitching coach Jim Colborn, who will join Tracy in Pittsburgh. DePodesta said he doubted the Rangers would allow him to interview Hershiser as a pitching coach.

Hershiser pitched for the Dodgers from 1983 to '94 and again in 2000. He was 23-8 and won the National League Cy Young Award in 1988, the last time the Dodgers won a World Series.

"I've made a natural progression in the candidate fraternity," Hershiser said. "I got a taste with Oakland, and this will be my first face-to-face interview. I definitely respect Paul's pedigree and I look forward to seeing him."

After saying at one time in the search process that the club would have a manager in place by the end of October, DePodesta is now allowing for the possibility that it won't.

Hoffman coveted-- Dodgers third-base coach Glenn Hoffman is believed to have received an offer from former Dodgers manager Jim Tracy to join Tracy's staff in Pittsburgh, but one source expressed doubt that Hoffman, who lives in Anaheim Hills, will accept.

World Series-- For Dodger fans wondering about who to pull for in the World Series, Houston and Chicago have only one former Dodger player each, infielder Jose Vizcaino for the Astros and first baseman Paul Konerko for the White Sox. Most with out a clear preference will probably pull for the National League team. In either event, Wait 'Till Next Year.