Hillman to interview with Rangers

Hillman to interview with Rangers on Tuesday

Nippon Ham Fighters manager Trey Hillman will interview with the Rangers on Tuesday for their managerial opening, and Don Wakamatsu will interview on Wednesday, club officials said on Sunday morning.

The Oakland Athletics have also asked permission to speak with Wakamatsu, who has spent the past four years as the Rangers' bench coach.

Hillman confirmed in an e-mail on Sunday morning that he will interview with Texas and also with Oakland and San Diego for their managerial openings.

Hillman is scheduled to interview with the A's on Wednesday and the Padres on Thursday.

"I will be leaving Japan on the morning of the 31st," Hillman said, "and returning to Japan from California on the morning of the 3rd."

The Fighters wrapped up the Japan Series in five games against the Chunichi Dragons. The quick victory gave Hillman time to return to the United States and interview face-to-face with the Rangers. General manager Jon Daniels had said last week that he thought Hillman might have to interview by phone.

Hillman has to be back in Japan on Nov. 5 for an All-Star Game and will then manage the Fighters in the Asian Series on Nov. 12. Japan's National Baseball Convention is on Nov. 14 in Tokyo.

"Our celebration Fighter parade is Nov. 18th, and our fan fest at the Sapporo dome is the 19th," Hillman said. "I'm hoping to be home in Texas for Thanksgiving."

Hillman's contract with the Fighters expired at the end of the season. Reports out of Japan say the club's ownership has offered him $1 million or more to remain with the Fighters.

Hillman was born in Amarillo, but grew up in Arlington and attended the University of Texas at Arlington. He managed 11 years in the Yankees' farm system and was the Rangers' farm director in 2002. Grady Fuson, the Rangers' assistant general manager at the time, is now an assistant to Padres general manager Kevin Towers. Hillman still makes his home in Texas in the offseason.

Hillman will be the fourth candidate to interview for the Rangers job. They have already interviewed Oakland third-base coach Ron Washington, Mets third-base coach Manny Acta and Phillies Triple-A manager John Russell.

Wakamatsu will be the final candidate interviewed by Daniels and assistant general manager Thad Levine. Owner Tom Hicks will likely join the process in its final stages, interviewing the two finalists.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.