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Padres to interview Yankees exec Eppler; GM derby up to seven

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The Yankees have given permission for assistant GM Billy Eppler to be interviewed by the Padres for San Diego's open general manager job.

Eppler's official inclusion in the derby brings to seven the number of candidates known to currently be under serious consideration.

In addition to Eppler and two current Padres executives -- assistant GM A.J. Hinch and senior VP Omar Minaya -- who will receive consideration, the list of those who have received interviews or will interview includes ex-Marlins GM Larry Beinfest, Dodgers scouting director Logan White, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller.

Beinfest and White have interviewed already, the Padres announced, with the others due up in coming days.

Other names that have been mentioned in the media as possible candidates include Athletics assistant GMs David Forst and Farhan Zaidi, Cardinals assistant GM Michael Girsch, Braves assistant GM John Coppolella, Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine and Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer.

Former Padres GM Kevin Towers, whose current Arizona front office is now headed by Tony La Russa, also has been mentioned as a possibility to return to his former job.

Others could still be added to the interview list.

Cubs scouting director Jason McLeod, a San Diego product who previously held the same job in San Diego, surprised some folks by turning down the opportunity to interview for the Padres' GM job, which would have to be viewed as a much higher position than he currently holds. McLeod currently works for ex-Padres GM Jed Hoyer, the GM in Chicago, and cited all the "good things going on" in Chicago as his reason for staying.

Unusually, Hinch and Minaya, along with assistant GM Fred Uhlman, are continuing to run the baseball operations department in San Diego while the search goes on. The three-man setup was installed after Josh Byrnes was let go after only 2½ years on the job. A permanent GM is expected to be named sometime after the July 31 trade deadline.

New Padres president Mike Dee spoke of their high expectations upon firing Byrnes, citing the rise in payroll, though the Padres rank as 22nd among MLB payrolls, up from as low as 30th in recent years. Quite likely, the Padres' new regime mostly wanted its own man in the job.

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