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Bucs to take break in search for manager

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Friday, Nov. 2, 2007

The interview process in the Pirates' hunt for a new manager will be interrupted next week by Major League Baseball's annual general managers meetings in Orlando.

Pirates GM Neal Huntington will leave Sunday night from Pittsburgh for the four-day confab. It's believed Huntington already has interviewed at least two candidates, but he declined Thursday to either confirm or deny that.

"The process is ongoing, and we continue to gather information," Huntington said.

Huntington denied an Associated Press report that he might interview Boston Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell this weekend during a trip to New England. As of last night, the Pirates had not formally asked the Red Sox for permission to meet with Farrell.

It's possible Huntington could conduct one interview next week while he's in Florida. The Pirates already have received permission from the Chicago White Sox to talk to bench coach Joey Cora, who lives in Miami.

In addition to searching for a manager and filling several front office jobs, Huntington is keeping an eye on the free-agent player market.

Right-hander Shawn Chacon filed for free agency Tuesday, but has said he'd like to remain with the Pirates.

"We'd like to keep him in a Pirates uniform, unless the price is too high," Huntington said. "I have not spoken with his agent yet, but I do intend to."

The Pirates have exclusive negotiating rights with Chacon until Nov. 12. In the meantime, other teams may express interest but cannot negotiate financial terms.

Huntington said Chacon would not be an option for the starting rotation if he stays with the Pirates.

Note: Four players who played briefly for the Pirates last season -- right-handers Dan Kolb and Marty McLeary, catcher Humberto Cota and infielder Don Kelly -- were granted free agency. All four finished the season with Triple-A Indianapolis.

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