PHOENIX — Mark Grace will follow Al Pedrique in the Diamondbacks’ lineup of interviews for the open position of team manager.
Pedrique, who managed the D-Backs the second half of this season, will be interviewed today. Grace, who spent this year as a team broadcaster after capping his playing career with three years in Arizona, is to follow Friday.
“I'm excited about it,” Grace said. “I'm thankful for the opportunity. We'll see what happens. I know I'll do the best I can.”
Other confirmed candidates are Class A Lancaster manager Wally Backman, former Seattle Mariners manager and D-Backs bench coach Bob Melvin, and Anaheim Angels bench coach Joe Maddon.
Melvin is expected to interview next week. Backman will not be available for an interview this week as he is on a hunting trip.
General manager Joe Garagiola Jr., who is not commenting on specific candidates, would not say how many are on Arizona's list, but it is believed to number between five and 10. He did say he has not been denied permission to interview anyone from another organization.
As far as the team's other top priority — attempting to re-sign first baseman Richie Sexson — Garagiola said he gave agent Casey Close a question to pose to Sexson and that Close would reply with “substantive information” by the end of the week.
Whether more than one year of an extension would be guaranteed has been a sticking point in negotiations. Sexson, eligible for free agency, said his recovery from shoulder surgery is going so well he could begin swinging a bat in a week.
“I'm ready to go, man,” he said.
Garagiola said Arizona is not in a particular rush to make a managerial hire.
“It's certainly to our benefit to have the manager and his staff in place by the time free agents start to hit the market (two weeks after the World Series),” Garagiola said, “because that will be one of the first questions we'll be asked if those pieces are not in place.
“We'll do it as quickly as we can, but this is not a timed event. It's not going to be governed by the calendar.”
Luis Gonzalez was asked on ESPN Radio about the possibility of being managed by Grace, his ex-teammate.
“It'd be interesting if he was the manager,” Gonzalez said.
Asked if he is prepared for the interview process, Grace said: “I've been prepared for this for years.
“Being not so far removed from the game, I know the league, I know the players. Hopefully, that'll be in my favor. I hope they like what I have to say.”
Former managers Jim Fregosi and Grady Little are not believed to be candidates for Arizona's opening.