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Hinch, a top in-house candidate, pulls himself out of S.D. GM derby

Padres assistant GM A.J. Hinch, who's served as the point man in the team's temporary three-man GM set-up, has declined an interview for the permanent GM job and pulled himself out of the running for the position.

Hinch recently informed Padres higherups of his decision.

Hinch, along with veteran executives Omar Minaya and Fred Uhlman Jr., had been running the baseball operations department since club owner Ron Fowler and president Mike Dee fired GM Josh Byrnes a few weeks back. Hinch is very close to Byrnes and worked for him presviously in Arizona. Byrnes was fired by the new regime after only 2 1/2 years on the job.

Hinch is a qualified candidate based on his front-office experience, his experience as Diamondbacks manager, his big-league career as a catcher and his Stanford degree, but instead adds to the impressive list of executives who declined a chance to interview for the job, including Minaya, who cited geography and family reasons, plus outside candidates David Forst of Oakland, Mike Chernoff of Cleveland, Michael Girsch of St. Louis and Jason McLeod of the Cubs. McLeod, a San Diego product and former Padres exec, is the Cubs' scouting director while the others are assistant GMs.

Hinch also had been a candidate for the Cubs managerial job last winter that went to Rick Renteria.

Candidates who have or will interview for the job include former Marlins president Larry Beinfest, Dodgers scouting director Logan White, Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen, MLB executive Kim Ng, Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller, Diamondbacks scouting director Ray Montgomery and Padres assistant GM Josh Stein. There may be a few more candidates yet to be interviewed whose names haven't surfaced.

The Padres expect to have a new GM in place sometime after the July 31 trade deadline.

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