According to multiple reports Friday, the Arizona Diamondbacks' new manager is going to be Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Torey Lovullo. A former star player and manager of the Bisons, Lovullo will reportedly be introduced Monday in Phoenix.
Lovullo, 51, has been the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox under former Buffalo teammate John Farrell the last four years, winning a World Series in 2013 and serving as interim manager in 2015 while Farrell was undergoing cancer treatments. Lovullo was Farrell's first base in 2011-12 while the pair was in Toronto.
Lovullo is one of the most popular figures of the Bisons' modern era from their days with the Cleveland Indians. The second baseman/third baseman was a standout player on the 1995 team that lost Game Five of the American Association finals to Louisville, and was a key to Buffalo's back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998.
After Buffalo's 5-4, 10-inning win at Iowa in 1997 clinched a three-game sweep of the Association finals and gave the Herd its first championship since 1961, it was Lovullo who presented Bisons president Bob Rich. Jr. with the baseball from the last out. He had started the final play, a double play grounder on a ball hit to him at second base.
The next season, Lovullo aired out his teammates on the mound early in an August game at Syracuse and then hit a tying home run later in the game off then-mega Toronto prospect Roy Halladay. The '98 Bisons were 8 1/2 games out of first place with 27 to go at the game but rallied to win the IL North title by a half-game. It was Lovullo's best year as a Bison, as he batted .326 with 17 homers and 65 RBIs, and led the Herd to the Triple-A World Series.
Lovullo retired as a player and worked his way back through the Cleveland ranks as a manager. He directed the Herd to a 214-212 record from 2006-2008, the final three seasons of the Cleveland affiliation. His best season was 2007, when the Bisons finished 75-67 and were eliminated from playoff contention on the second-last day of the season.
Lovullo was a standout prospect of the Detroit Tigers who was anointed a can't-miss player by manager Sparky Anderson in the late 80s. He played 303 big-league games for six teams.
Lovullo is close to new Arizona GM Mike Hazen from their days together in the Cleveland minor-league chain. The Diamondbacks have not been over .500 since they went 94-68 and won the NL West title in 2011.
The hiring of Lovullo means three members of the Buffalo Baseball Hall will be managing in the National League in 2017. Former Bisons manager Terry Collins continues at the helm of the New York Mets while Dave Roberts, Buffalo's modern-era leader in stolen bases, will be an NL West rival of Lovullo directing the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The roster of MLB managers also includes three other Buffalo players -- Farrell, Texas' Jeff Banister and San Diego's Andy Green.