PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies probably figured they would have a new pitching coach by the time the free-agent market opened Tuesday.
They do not.
They have interviewed or contacted at least seven candidates: Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell, Pirates special assistant to the general manager Jim Benedict, Mariners special assistant to the general manager Pete Vuckovich, Phillies bullpen coach Rod Nichols, Marlins bullpen coach Reid Cornelius, Triple-A Lehigh Valley pitching coach Ray Burris and Triple-A Durham pitching coach Neil Allen.
McDowell had been their top choice once the Reds made Bryan Price their manager, but after the Phillies spoke with McDowell late last week, the Braves announced Saturday he had agreed to a two-year extension. Benedict could have been offered the job -- he impressed in his interview and has a strong track record with Pirates pitchers -- but a source said Tuesday he recently told the Phils he will remain with the Bucs.
Oddly, former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone tweeted Monday to the Phillies' official Twitter account: "I would be very interested in being your pitching coach. #championshipball." But one source said his name had not been discussed.
So what's next?
"We're still doing our due diligence," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday.
Asked if he is surprised or frustrated it has taken so long to find somebody to replace Rich Dubee, Amaro said, "We're just trying to get the right guy. We're still looking through candidates."
Amaro said he still likes some of the candidates the Phillies have interviewed and possible candidates they have not interviewed. But clearly the Phils have watched some of their favorites fall off the board.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.