Loretta first up as Chicago Cubs interview candidates to replace Maddon

Meeting with the media Monday to wrap up a disappointing season, Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein spent plenty of time talking about Joe Maddon and offered a timeline on replacing the departed manager.

"We're not going to drag this out any longer than it needs to be," Epstein said. "But we also want to be thorough."

According to reports, the Cubs already have started the search for a new dugout boss.

Mark Loretta, who just completed his first season as the Cubs' bench coach, interviewed for the manager's job Thursday.

Next week, Joe Girardi, David Ross and Will Venable are on the interview list.

Girardi is the lone candidate with managing experience.

A Peoria native, Girardi played college baseball at Northwestern and was drafted by the Cubs in 1986.

After a 15-year playing career with the Cubs, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals, Girardi managed the Marlins in 2006 and moved to the Yankees' dugout in 2008.

In 10 seasons with New York, Girardi was 910-710 and won the World Series in 2009, one of his six trips to the postseason.

Ross is a former catcher and current TV analyst. He played a huge leadership role on the Cubs' 2016 World Series championship team and has expressed a strong interest in the job.

After a nine-year playing career with the Padres, Dodgers and Rangers, Venable joined the Cubs in 2017 as an assistant to Epstein and was first-base coach the last two seasons.

FILE - In this July 24, 2016, file photo, Chicago Cubs' David Ross throws out a Milwaukee Brewers batter during a baseball game in Milwaukee. Former Cubs catchers Joe Girardi and Ross will speak with the team next week about its managerial opening. The team also plans to interview first base coach Will Venable next week. Bench coach Mark Loretta interviewed for the job Thursday. The Cubs are searching for a successor to Joe Maddon, whose contract expired after the Cubs missed the playoffs this year for the first time since 2014. (AP Photo/Benny Sieu, File)
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