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Oct. 8 News and Notes

Gilliick takes name out of running for Mets GM gig — 6:15 p.m.

Scratch Phillies executive Pat Gillick off the list of candidates for the Mets’ vacant general manager position.

The Phillies granted permission for the Mets to interview Gillick, and Gillick spoke Friday with the Mets’ chief operating officer, Jeff Wilpon.

But Gillick, who lives in Seattle, declined to pursue the opportunity further, citing a preference to remain on the west coast if he becomes a GM again.

“It was a very positive conversation,” Gillick said of his talk with Wilpon.

“I wouldn’t mind working again. I would like to work again. But I prefer to work here on the west coast. If it wasn’t for that, I’d certainly be interested.”

Gillick, 74, has been a GM for four teams – the Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners and Phillies. He won World Series with the Jays in ’92 and ’93 and with the Phillies in 2008.

The Mets announced Thursday they’ll interview White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn, former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes and former Royals GM Allard Baird.

The team’s also in contact with former A’s GM and Padres club president Sandy Alderson and plans to schedule an interview with him next week, according to a major-league source.

The Mets intend to speak with between four and six candidates in their initial round of interviews.

— Ken Rosenthal

Wedge ‘burning’ to get back in the dugout — 2:03 p.m.

Former Indians manager Eric Wedge is eager to get back in the dugout.

How eager?

“I’m burning,” Wedge said. “I’ve got all the desire in the world to manage again.

“I took a year off to spend with my family, get refreshed physically, emotionally, everything else. I’m ready to dive back in head-first. And when I’m in, I’m all in.”

Wedge, 42, already has interviewed with the Cubs, Blue Jays and Pirates. He also is a candidate for the Brewers and Mariners, according to major-league sources, and could be a candidate for the Mets.

Wedge was 561-573 with the Indians, winning 96 games in 2007 and leading the team to the American League Championship Series.

But from there, things deteriorated.

The Indians started poorly in ’08, traded left-hander CC Sabathia, third baseman Casey Blake and right-hander Paul Byrd at midseason, but finished on a 40-29 roll.

Then, after another poor April, they traded lefty Cliff Lee, catcher Victor Martinez, right-hander Carl Pavano and others in the middle of ’09.

Wedge had a year left on his contract, but general manager Mark Shapiro reluctantly fired him after that season, accepting part of the blame for the team’s 65-97 finish. The Indians were not much better last season, their first under Manny Acta, finishing 69-93.

Now, Wedge seems likely to get another shot.

“My passion is unwavering,” Wedge said. “I’m ready to go."

— Ken Rosenthal

Oct. 7 News and Notes

Braves might activate reliever if they make NLCS — 8:32 p.m.

Right-hander Takashi Saito, limited to one ineffective appearance in the final 16 days of the regular season, could be activated by Atlanta if the Braves advance to the NLCS. The Braves opened the NL Division Series at San Francisco on Thursday night.

Saito’s had shoulder problems that limited his recent activity, which has created control problems. On Saturday against Philadelphia he retired only one of six batters he faced, and walked three.

Manager Bobby Cox said Saito will work in the Florida Instructional League on Saturday.

"His arm feels pretty good but he was rusty in the bullpen (Wednesday),” Cox said. "The ball wasn’t going where he wanted it to on every pitch. He’s a strikeout pitcher and has great control. He has to have the control.”

Saito, 40, had a 2.83 ERA in 56 regular-season appearances with the Braves. He struck out 69 and walked only 17 in 54 innings.

Tracy Ringolsby

 

October 4 News and Notes

Schedule could help Giants recover — 9:45 a.m.

By finishing with the best record in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies had their pick of Division Series schedules. They selected the one that includes the additional off day, enabling them to maximize their unmatched three-man rotation of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

But their choice may also help the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants-Braves matchup is the only series that won’t begin until Thursday. That could play into San Francisco’s favor, given the workload several players have carried in recent weeks.

On Sunday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy singled out Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell as needing “two days” off.

The extra rest also should help second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder. The last six starts at second have been split between Sanchez and Mike Fontenot. The Padres were aware of the injury and tested Sanchez’s arm on the bases Friday night.

“The rest and the treatment’s going to help,” Sanchez said after the Giants clinched the division on Sunday. “That’s going to be a big part of it. Not playing until Thursday, I think, is huge. I can get a lot of rest and treatment in and see where I’m at.”

Despite the shoulder trouble, Sanchez is still hitting. He has a .364 average in 35 games since Aug. 19.

— Jon Paul Morosi

October 1 News and Notes

Dipoto close to agreement with D-backs — 4:01 p.m.

Jerry Dipoto, who took over as interim GM for Arizona this season when the organization let go of Josh Byrnes early on, is close to reaching an agreement with the team to stay on in another capacity.

Dipoto was passed up in the team’s search for a permanent GM in October in favor of Kevin Towers, but his accomplishments this season while serving in that capacity were strong enough and well respected enough around the league to where many believe he should be a candidate for the Mets job, which will reportedly open up after the season when they release Omar Minaya.

Dipoto is very respected within the Mets organization, having pitched for them during his playing days.

He’s expected to take a position in the player development and scouting department for the Diamondbacks.

— Ken Rosenthal

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