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Angels to interview two Yankees executives for GM job

October 12, 2011 |  5:06 pm

AngelslogoThe Angels have been granted permission by the New York Yankees to interview front-office executives Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler for their vacant general manager position, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday.

An Angels spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the report, saying only that the team "has indeed initiated our search process for a new general manager, which includes reaching out to some organizations." 

Oppenheimer, the 48-year-old vice president of amateur scouting, has been credited with turning around the team’s minor league system, one which was considered among the worst in baeball less than a decade ago.

In his first draft, in 2005, Oppenheimer selected outfielders Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson. He also headed the 2006 draft that produced pitchers Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain and Dave Robertson.

The Arizona Diamondbacks were interested in Oppenheimer for their vacant GM spot last year but were reportedly denied permission to interview him.

Eppler, 36, is the Yankees' senior director of pro personnel and has been GM Brian Cashman's right-hand man since the end of the 2009 season. He joined the team after spending four years as a scout for the Colorado Rockies.

Among the other executives believed to be high on the Angels' list are Jerry Dipoto, the senior vice president of scouting and player development for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Gerry Hunsicker, vice president of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, and assistant GMs Rick Hahn (Chicago White Sox) and Thad Levine (Texas Rangers).

The Angels are also believed to be interested in San Diego Padres Manager Bud Black, who was on a front-office track with the Cleveland Indians before joining Angels Manager Mike Scioscia's staff as the pitching coach in 2000.

Dipoto, 43, is a former big league reliever who was Arizona's interim GM last season when the team traded pitcher Dan Haren to the Angels for Joe Saunders and three prospects and Edwin Jackson to the White Sox for Daniel Hudson. He interviewed for the permanent job, losing out to Kevin Towers but remaining with the club. Hunsicker, 61, is the former Houston GM.

The new Angels GM is expected to have a huge hand in rebuilding the front office following a major shakeup after the team finished 10 games behind the Rangers in the American League West and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

In addition to GM Tony Reagins, the team dismissed top special assistant Gary Sutherland, who was the head of pro scouting, assistant GM Ken Forsch and farm director Abe Flores.

-- Mike DiGiovanna from Detroit

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