Hart begins meetings as Braves' new interim GM

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ATLANTA (AP) John Hart kicked off his new role as Braves interim general manager by scheduling meetings that began with the coaching staff on Tuesday and will continue this week with instructional league personnel in Florida.

Hart, team president John Schuerholz and special assistant to the GM Bobby Cox plan to meet next week. They will begin discussing candidates to replace Frank Wren, who was fired as general manager on Monday.

Hart, the former Cleveland and Texas general manager, said Monday he's not pursuing the full-time GM position. He said he agreed to the interim position due to his friendship with Schuerholz, who left open the possibility of Hart being the permanent choice as Wren's successor.

However, Schuerholz said Wednesday the current understanding is Hart, 66, only has interest in the interim position.

''If it should ever develop along the way that he feels differently about it, I'm sure he will let me know that,'' Schuerholz said. ''But he and I have a clear understanding about what he's doing and what the expectations are.''

Schuerholz said he is grateful to have Hart assume the GM role, even on a temporary basis.

''We're dear friends. He knows how I feel about him,'' Schuerholz said. ''He's doing the job he wants to do for us now. He's doing the job he said he would do, and that's the interim GM, and he stepped aside from his life and his work with MLB Network to do it. I honor that and I respect that and I'm happy to have him doing what he's doing.''

Current assistant GM John Coppolella, 35, could be high on the list the three-man committee considers. Another possible candidate is Kansas City GM Dayton Moore, who spent more than a decade in the Atlanta organization. Moore declined comment this week when asked if he had interest in the job.

Hart said Monday he's had other opportunities in baseball since leaving the Rangers. He said his friendship with Schuerholz and the fact the Braves hold spring training and instructional league near his hometown of Orlando, Florida makes this ''a little tougher'' to turn down.

''But I think overall - and John and I have talked about this - I'm more comfortable being a part of this transition team and going out there and really combing what I think has a chance to be a really good group of potential candidates,'' Hart said.

''There's a nice thick body of guys who've done this before that I think have talent, ability, personality, makeup. And there's a good group of young guys that are out there as well, guys who haven't had an opportunity, that I think are certainly going to be included in this process. I'm happy right now to be a part of it.''

The Braves want to make a hire before Nov. 10, when the general managers' meetings begin in Phoenix. Baseball's winter meetings are set for Dec. 8-11 in San Diego.


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