LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Dodgers received permission to interview former Boston manager Grady Little and New York Mets coach Manny Acta about the team’s managerial job.

That leaves the Dodgers with four candidates for a position that’s been vacant for nearly two months, team spokesman Josh Rawitch said Monday.

General manager Ned Colletti interviewed former major league manager Jim Fregosi on Nov. 19 in Tampa, Fla., and the Dodgers announced late last week they had received permission to interview Devil Rays bench coach John McLaren.

Little, Acta and McLaren were all expected to be interviewed this week. It appears Los Angeles will be without a manager heading into the winter meetings in Dallas beginning next Monday.

The 55-year-old Little managed the Red Sox from 2002-03, compiling a 188-136 record. He was second-guessed for leaving starting pitcher Pedro Martinez in too long in Game 7 of the 2003 AL championship series, which the New York Yankees won in 11 innings.

Little is currently the roving catching instructor for the Chicago Cubs.

The 36-year-old Acta is the third base and infield coach for the Mets. He will manage the Dominican Republic team that will play in the World Baseball Classic in March.

Acta has managed eight seasons in the minor leagues and several years in winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

The 54-year-old McLaren spent 15 years on former manager Lou Piniella’s staff and has also managed in the minor leagues for eight years. He was a finalist for the Devil Rays’ managerial job, but lost out to Los Angeles Angels bench coach Joe Madden earlier this month. The Tampa Bay job became vacant when the team agreed to buy out the final season of Piniella’s contract.

The 63-year-old Fregosi managed the California Angels from 1978-81, the Chicago White Sox from 1986-88, the Philadelphia Phillies from 1991-96, and the Toronto Blue Jays from 1999-00. His 1993 Philadelphia team reached the World Series before losing to the Blue Jays.

Piniella and Angels pitching coach Bud Black declined invitations to interview for the Dodgers’ job, which became vacant Oct. 3 when the team parted ways with Jim Tracy, later hired as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tracy managed the Dodgers for five years. They went 71-91 last season, one year after winning the NL West title with a 93-69 mark.

Colletti was introduced as the Dodgers’ GM on Nov. 16, succeeding Paul DePodesta, who was fired Oct. 29.

AP-ES-11-28-05 2133EST

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