MLB notes: Mets’ Manuel, Minaya fired

A day after the New York Mets ended a second straight losing season, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and his father, Fred, the owner, were eager to get their “family business” back on track. The first act: firing manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya.

The Mets plan to begin calling candidates right away to replace Minaya. The Wilpons have a habit of hiring from within – Minaya was their senior assistant GM before taking over the Montreal Expos.

Assistant GM John Ricco was appointed head of baseball operations on an interim basis, and he will help get the process under way. Ricco said he will not be a candidate for the job and that he shouldn’t be one. He indicated they had several people they would like to contact.

The new GM will work with the team to hire a new manager. The coaches are under contract until Nov. 1.

Minaya had two years left on his deal, but he won’t be staying on in another capacity, the Mets said.

For the second straight year, the Minnesota Twins will play the postseason without Justin Morneau.

The 2006 A.L. MVP hasn’t played since July 7 because of post-concussion symptoms stemming from an inadvertent knee to the head during a slide into second base at Toronto. Morneau has begun to improve and hasn’t had any recent setbacks, but general manager Bill Smith said the team doesn’t want to rush back its four-time All-Star first baseman.

The Twins expect Morneau to join the team for the start of spring training. He will stop his workouts for the next two weeks, then slowly ramp them up again in his preparation for the 2011 season.

Manager Dusty Baker got a two-year contract extension through 2012 for leading the Cincinnati Reds to their first playoff appearance in 15 years.

Baker’s coaching staff also was offered two-year extensions before the club worked out, attended a downtown rally and headed to Philadelphia for the start of the playoffs Wednesday against the defending N.L. champions.

Kirk Gibson is going to get a shot at managing the Arizona Diamondbacks for a full season.

Hired as the interim manager after a midseason shake-up, Gibson was given the permanent job, signing a two-year deal with a team option for 2013. Interim general manager Jerry Dipoto also will remain with the club as vice president of scouting and player development.

A fiery former player, Gibson was promoted from bench coach when the Diamondbacks fired manager A.J. Hinch and GM Josh Byrnes on July 2.

Gibson didn’t lead any dramatic turnaround – Arizona was last in the N.L. West at 65-97 – but did change the sometimes laid-back attitude in the clubhouse.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have fired manager John Russell, whose teams equaled a franchise record by losing 299 games in three seasons.

Not since the mid-1950s have the Pirates been as bad as they were under Russell, who had records of 67-95 in 2008, 62-99 in 2009 and 57-105 this season. Only the 1952 Pirates, who went 42-112, lost more games in baseball’s modern era than Russell’s final team, which was the National League’s worst in batting, pitching and defense.

This season’s Pirates were bad from April to October. They were 17-64 on the road, equaling the 1963 Mets for the most road losses during baseball’s expansion era.

Macha firing confirmed

The Milwaukee Brewers are formally confirming that Ken Macha will not return as manager.

The 60-year-old Macha finishes a disappointing 157-167 in two losing seasons following Milwaukee’s first postseason appearance in 26 years.

General manager Doug Melvin and Macha talked shortly after a newspaper report citing unidentified sources confirmed Macha would be let go.

Milwaukee will begin next year with its fourth manager in the span of just over two seasons.

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