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Originally published Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Jack Zduriencik, Brewers executive, is fourth Mariners GM finalist

Jack Zduriencik, a Milwaukee Brewers executive, is the fourth finalist for the Mariners' vacant general manager's job. The Mariners are bringing back Zduriencik, Jerry DiPoto, Tony LaCava and Kim Ng as they begin the final round of interviews today to replace Bill Bavasi.

Seattle Times staff reporters

Jack Zduriencik, a Milwaukee Brewers executive, is the fourth finalist for the Mariners' vacant general manager's job, The Seattle Times has learned.

The Mariners are bringing back Zduriencik, Jerry DiPoto, Tony LaCava and Kim Ng as they begin the final round of interviews today to replace the fired Bill Bavasi.

Zduriencik's name had not been previously revealed as a candidate, but it was learned that he conducted his initial interview on Monday, following the Brewers' elimination from the National League Division series. Multiple baseball sources confirmed Thursday that he is among the finalists.

Zduriencik, 57, is the Brewers' vice president and special assistant to the GM for player personnel, and has been given much credit for the Brewers' turnaround. They made the postseason this year for the first time since 1982. Zduriencik directs all scouting for the Brewers, both domestic and international.

After the 2007 season, Zduriencik was named Baseball America's Executive of the Year, the first non-GM ever to win. His drafts have produced Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks and Yovani Gallardo, among others. He has also worked for the Dodgers, Mets and Pirates in a 24-year baseball career.

DiPoto, 40, is director of player personnel for the Arizona Diamondbacks. LaCava, 47, is assistant general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Ng, 39, is assistant general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Mariners are expected to talk to two candidates today, believed to be DiPoto and LaCava, and conduct more interviews on Friday as they pursue a replacement for Bavasi, who was fired in June. Both DiPoto and LaCava are said to have flown into Seattle on Wednesday, from Arizona and Pittsburgh, respectively.

Ng was in Los Angeles on Wednesday night as her club played Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, getting eliminated by the Phillies. The exact times of second interviews for Ng and Zduriencik could not be confirmed.

The Mariners last week interviewed two candidates from the Diamondbacks: DiPoto and Peter Woodfork, Arizona's assistant general manager. But only DiPoto, a major-league relief pitcher from 1993 to 2000, will receive a second interview.

DiPoto worked in the scouting department of the Boston Red Sox from 2003 to 2004 before serving as director of player personnel for the Colorado Rockies in 2005. He joined the Diamondbacks in the same capacity the following year, overseeing all aspects of pro scouting.

LaCava has an extensive scouting background with several organizations, including a 10-year stint with the Angels, where he worked with the Mariners' current scouting director, Bob Fontaine. He also worked for the Braves, Expos and Indians before joining the Blue Jays in October 2002 as assistant to GM J.P. Ricciardi. The Pittsburgh native spent two years as an infielder in the Pirates' farm system.

Both men are said to have presented the Mariners with extensive, highly-detailed lists of the management team they would like to put in place. At least one team president and three general managers have telephoned the Mariners to express support for LaCava, while several top executives from Arizona and other teams have done the same on DiPoto's behalf.

Although the Mariners had hoped to interview between 10 and 15 candidates in the opening round of their search, they wound up speaking to fewer than 10. Several potential candidates were denied permission by their current teams to be interviewed; others declined of their own accord.

Last week, the Mariners interviewed LaCava, DiPoto, Woodfork, Ng and Mets assistant Tony Bernazard, then Zduriencik on Monday. They have also interviewed two in-house candidates, interim GM Lee Pelekoudas and vice president of international operations Bob Engle.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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