Mariners’ GM search down to 4

SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners are down to four candidates to become their new general manager, and Kim Ng remains in the running to become the first female GM in major league baseball.

Ng, the assistant general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers, will get a second interview along with Milwaukee Brewers executive Jack Zduriencik, Arizona Diamondbacks executive Jerry DiPoto and Toronto Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava. The list was divulged by a baseball official who spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the Mariners are not revealing their plans.

The Seattle Times earlier reported the Mariners had narrowed their search to those four.

The 39-year-old Ng has had her job for seven seasons and was assistant to New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman before that. She was beaten out by Ned Colletti when Los Angeles selected a new GM in 2005.

A few weeks ago, Mariners president Chuck Armstrong hinted Ng could be the choice.

“It’s time for some fresh thinking,” said Armstrong, completing his 23rd season with the team.

“We’re color blind, gender blind,” he went on to say. “We just want (who) we think would be the best person for the Mariners as we move forward.”

Armstrong and chief executive officer Howard Lincoln hope to select the replacement for Bill Bavasi by next month. Lee Pelekoudas has been acting GM since Bavasi was fired June 16.

Seattle became the first major league team with a $100 million player payroll to lose 100 games. The Mariners began the year expecting to win the AL West but finished 61-101, their most losses since 1983.

The 57-year-old Zduriencik is the special assistant to Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. Since Zduriencik came to Milwaukee in 1999, he’s decided to draft Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks as well as 2007 NL Rookie of the Year Ryan Braun, J.J Hardy, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra and Tony Gwynn Jr.

DiPoto, 40, became the Diamondbacks’ director of player personnel in August 2006. He was a scout in 2003 and 2004 for the Boston Red Sox and was the director of director of player personnel for the Colorado Rockies in 2005. The former reliever pitched for three major league teams from 1993-00.

LaCava, 47, had a scouting background with the Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos and Cleveland Indians before joining Toronto.

The new GM will have authority to hire Seattle’s manager.

Jim Riggleman, promoted from bench coach when manager John McLaren was fired in June, has said he doesn’t expect to return.

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