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Pirates fire Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo

Rob Biertempfel
| Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, 9:37 p.m.
Pirates Latin America scouting director Rene Gayo watches batting practice during the team's minicamp on Jan. 14, 2016, at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates Latin America scouting director Rene Gayo watches batting practice during the team's minicamp on Jan. 14, 2016, at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.

The Pirates on Wednesday fired Rene Gayo, their longtime director of Latin American scouting.

Gayo will depart when his contract expires next month.

Citing sources, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Gayo violated MLB's rules by taking a kickback from a Mexican Summer League team several years ago for the sale of at least one player to the Pirates.

The Pirates severed ties with Gayo after learning he was the target of an MLB investigation.

“As an organization, we concluded that we needed to move in a new and different direction with our Latin American scouting leadership,” general manager Neal Huntington said in a prepared statement.

Huntington said MLB intends to discipline Gayo. The Pirates are not expected to receive any penalty from the commissioner's office.

Reached by phone, Gayo declined to comment to the Tribune-Review.

“Other than confirming our profound disappointment in the breach of trust that was the subject of MLB's investigation, we will have no further comment on the investigation or MLB's intended discipline,” Huntington said.

Gayo, 55, was hired by the Pirates in 2004. Outfielders Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco are among the players he scouted and brought into the organization.

The documentary “Pelotero,” released in 2009, cast a shadow on Gayo's recruiting methods as he tried to sign teen-aged slugger Miguel Sano out of the Dominican Republic. The film appeared to show Gayo bullying Sano's family about the player's true age.

The approach backfired. Instead of working out a more team-friendly contract, Gayo created a rift. The Pirates, who had been considered the front-runners to sign Sano, instead saw him sign with the Minnesota Twins.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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