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DODGERS: COLLETTI IS LEADING CANDIDATE.

Byline: Tony Jackson Staff Writer

The latest leading candidate for the Dodgers' general manager vacancy appears to be San Francisco assistant GM Ned Colletti, who was scheduled to interview for the position on Friday and whom an industry source identified on Saturday as the rumored frontrunner.

Whether the job goes to Colletti or to Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng, it likely will go to someone no later than Tuesday, before Frank and Jamie McCourt leave for baseball's quarterly owners' meetings in Milwaukee Wednesday and Thursday.

Colletti, 50, and Ng, 36, might be the only serious candidates left after several high-profile ex-GMs accepted other jobs or showed only tepid interest. As of the middle of last week, former Cleveland and Texas GM John Hart, now a consultant for the Rangers, hadn't even committed to accepting a face-to-face interview for the job, and Colletti's late entry into the candidate field likely means Frank McCourt has given up on Hart.

Colletti and Ng have similar credentials, both having been longtime assistant GMs for successful clubs and both being responsible for most of their current teams' contract negotiations. Ng was part of four World Series teams while with the New York Yankees, and the Giants have made the playoffs in four of the nine seasons with Colletti as the top assistant to GM Brian Sabean.

But two things set Colletti apart. First, he has always negotiated those contracts within the constraints of a payroll budget similar to what the Dodgers are expected to shrink theirs to next season, somewhere in the $75 million to $80 million range. Second, he has a past relationship with Texas pitching coach Orel Hershiser, whom McCourt might already have decided on as the Dodgers' next manager. Colletti had a hand in signing Hershiser to pitch for the Giants in 1998.

--AFL champs: Dodgers prospects Matt Kemp, who went 4 for 4 and homered twice, and Andy LaRoche, who slammed a two-run homer, led the Phoenix Desert Dogs to a 9-3 win over Surprise in Saturday's Arizona Fall League title game at Phoenix.

Tony Jackson,(818) 713-3675

tony.jackson(at)dailynews.com

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NED COLLETTI

Giants assistant GM is now the favorite to fill Dodgers' GM position.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 13, 2005
Words:370
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