BOSTON -- Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster has maintained strong feelings for the Cubs after he pitched 81/2 seasons for them.
And his allegiance is just as strong for Rick Renteria to become the Cubs' next manager.
"He's a tremendous baseball man," said Dempster, whose association with the Padres' bench coach dates back to their days in the Marlins' organization when Renteria was a minor-league manager. "I enjoyed my time with him. He was incredible with the way he was able to teach guys. He's a good man, and he would be a great manager as well."
Renteria is scheduled to have a second interview this week with a Cubs official at his Southern California home, according to an industry source. Renteria, 51, is recovering from hip surgery earlier this week. He interviewed with several team officials early last week.
Dempster said he realizes the Cubs' job isn't the most attractive right now because of the rebuilding but stressed his faith in President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer to hire the right person.
"Maybe it's somebody who has played there," Dempster said. "You never know. It's just an understanding of what it's like to play those day games and go through that. It's a situation different than anywhere in the league."
Dempster believes the Cubs' manager will play a bigger role in helping the development of young players, especially with the void of veterans that occurred after he, Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano were traded.
"You're going to have speed bumps," Dempster said. "We have guys like (Xander) Bogaerts and (Will) Middlebrooks and (Felix) Doubront who have those same speed bumps, but when you have a bunch of veteran players around them to help them, it always doesn't go on the manager. That's the tough part over there.
"Once (the veterans) were gone, the young guys can't lean on them, and then you have to grow up faster than you might expect. When I was playing with the Marlins and growing up, you can lose five or six games in a row, and nobody cares. As long as you're giving your effort, that's fine.
"But in Chicago they want somebody else and rightfully so when you're paying that kind of money in a big market like that. They want better results on the field and hopefully they can do that. That place meant the world to me for the time I was there and the fans and front office and teammates I had. I'd love nothing more than for them to have a chance at winning a World Series."
Juan's way: Red Sox Game 1 starter Jon Lester gave manager John Farrell credit for not being hands-on with the pitching staff from spring training on as he was as the club's pitching coach in 2007-2010.
"The biggest thing is that he has stayed out of Juan Nieves' way," said Lester, referring to the Red Sox's pitching coach and former White Sox bullpen coach. Farrell had relationships with guys here before. And when you have that coming in as a manager, you're already in charge of the team and you (might) want to try to overstep the pitching coach. Things can get a little dicey then.
"(Nieves) sat down with us early in spring training. We got things ironed out as far as what worked for us individually. Juan busted his (rear) since day one to learn everything to fit in with us, and it has gone smoothly since.
"That goes solely on Juan. He has done a great job of learning, getting the scouting part down, making sure we have everything we need to succeed."
Friendly foes: This World Series marks one of the few times two players from the same high school will compete against each other.
In this case, it's Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava against Cardinals infielder Daniel Descalso, whom high school coach Chris Bradford said was his favorite player in his 31 seasons as coach at St. Francis High in Mountain View, Calif., after posting a 25-6 record in three seasons as the Lancers' ace.
"To get two guys to this point, you can't beat it," said Bradford, who plans to attend Games 3 and 4 in St. Louis. "The faculty has been talking about it non-stop. It's a huge deal.
"I'm very proud of our guys. They're great kids."
Nava, 31, graduated three years ahead of Descalso, who played against Nava's younger brother in Little League and youth football.
"What are the chances two guys from the same high school who never played together but played for the same coach will be facing off in the World Series?" Descalso said. "It's pretty cool."
Bradford said that Descalso works out with the high school players in January and February, making a point to help infielders in need for work.
"I'd like to think I'm the elder statesmen, but Descalso already has been here (at the World Series) before," Nava said. "(Bradford) sent us a text message wishing us the best. He just wanted us to be here, and now he's proud. He's not getting a ring, but he's getting a player that's going to get one."
Nava wasn't about to complain about a reduced role after batting .303 with 12 home runs and 66 RBIs during the regular season after playing at Santa Clara University as a walk-on and getting signed out of the independent Golden Baseball League, where he played for White Sox bench coach Mark Parent with the Chico Outlaws.
"I was riding 15 to 17-hour buses, making $800 a month in Indy ball, and now I'm doing this," Nava said. "We're flying places. Things are a lot better. We don't get Costco champagne like we did in Indy ball when we won. We get nicer stuff. Everything is an upgrade."
Craig's climb: The Cardinals will regain the services of Allen Craig, who missed the past six weeks because of a foot injury.
Craig who batted .454 with runners in scoring position and drove in 97 runs in 134 games, will handle the designated hitter duties in Games 1 and 2 and could play first base when the Series shifts to St. Louis if his foot allows him.
"Getting clearance from the doctor to ramp up my activity level was very important," Craig said. "I'm not going to hurt myself further by trying to come back. We've ramped up my rehab over the past couple of weeks, and it feels like it fits and it's right.
"I'm anxious to be a ballplayer again."
(c)2013 Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services