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Miami Marlins interview Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon for manager position

Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon has joined the list of candidates to become the Marlins’ next manager.

McClendon, who managed the Pirates to a 336-446 record from 2001 to 2005, interviewed with Marlins officials on Tuesday and thought it “went very well.”

“I’m pleased with the way things went,” McClendon told the Detroit Free Press.

McClendon, 53, satisfies the requirement for a minority candidate and joins a list that includes former Marlins catcher Mike Redmond and former Padres and Phillies manager Larry Bowa, the 2001 National League manager of the Year.

Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, who interviewed with the Marlins last week, withdrew his name from consideration Tuesday.

Redmond, who spent last season managing Single A Dunedin, is considered the favorite to be the Marlins next manager.

After winning 75 games under McClendon in 2003 and 72 games in 2004, the Pirates went six years without getting to 70 wins.

McClendon, who has been on Jim Leyland’s Tigers’ staff since 2006, has played a big part in helping the team advance to two World Series and three league championship appearances, as well as coaching Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera. He spent his first year in Detroit as the bullpen coach before becoming the team’s hitting coach.

Leyland, who led the Marlins to their first World Series title in 1997, gave McClendon a ringing endorsement for the job he used to have.

“There’s no question he’s very qualified to be a big-league manager,” Leyland told the Free Press. “Sometimes you worry about guys like him getting a second chance, because Pittsburgh was a tough place in those days. He did a heck of a job there. He just didn’t have the players.”

McClendon, a native of Gary, Ind., played eight years in the big leagues for the Reds, Cubs and Pirates and finished his career as a .244 hitter with 35 home runs and 154 RBI in 570 games. He played five different positions (catcher, first base, third base, left field and right field) in his career and didn’t break into the big leagues until he was 28 years old.

“He’s a polished guy,” Leyland said. “He’s a very hard-working guy. He would be a great fit there. I don’t know their plans. I am hoping he gets the opportunity.”

Who could be the next candidate interviewed?

Retired outfielder Luis Gonzalez, who spent his final big-league season with the Marlins in 2008, is a name that has floated around. But sources told The Miami Herald on Wednesday that Gonzalez, a 45-year-old special assistant with the Arizona Diamondbacks, probably will not be interviewed.

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