Mets hitting coach Kevin Long has emerged as the early favorite for the team's managerial opening, a source told The Record's Bob Klapisch. Long has been with the organization for the past three years, and has been praised for his ability to communicate with players. Players such as Robinson Cano and Daniel Murphy have been very complimentary of Long after working with him. The Mets previously said they expect Long to return to the team in 2018, although it's unclear at this point which role he will fill on the staff. While Long is the favorite, the Mets are slated to conclude their first wave of interviews this week. They will interview Astros bench coach Alex Cora on Tuesday and White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing on Wednesday, according to Cora is New York with the Astros for the American League Championship Series. There are four openings – Mets, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies – and Cora appears to be the hottest candidate. Cora, a former infielder, played for six teams during his 14-year career, including parts of two seasons with the Mets from 2009-10. Houston outfielder George Springer raved about Cora on Sunday.