With Dipoto apparently off the board, LaCava likely Orioles' favorite

The Orioles interviewed another candidate for their vacant top executive position Friday but also reportedly lost one of the leading possibilities.

John Stockstill, the organization's 51-year-old director of player development, became the fourth person, and first internal candidate, to meet with the interviewing committee about the job vacated by president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail this month.

The Orioles' group of candidates, however, apparently shrunk by one earlier in the day.

Arizona Diamondbacks senior vice president Jerry Dipoto, who was the first person the Orioles interviewed, will be hired as the next general manager of the Los Angeles Angels, according to Fox Sports. An official announcement was to come at some point after Friday night's conclusion of the World Series.

That would leave three remaining candidates for the Orioles job — Toronto Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava, Los Angeles Dodgers assistant general manager De Jon Watson and Stockstill.

It's possible the committee meets with at least one more candidate before making a decision. One possibility is Texas Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine, a Northern Virginia native who grew up as an Orioles fan.

The Orioles have not yet contacted the Rangers, who are in the World Series, for permission to talk to Levine nor had they asked permission from another club as of Friday.

If they interview another candidate, it likely would be early next week, with the hope that they could wrap up the process and make an offer before week's end. It's unlikely the Orioles will conduct a second round of interviews.

Dipoto, a former player who spent two months as the Diamondbacks' interim GM in 2010, was considered the favorite for the Orioles job, perhaps slightly ahead of LaCava. Now that Dipoto is off the board, LaCava, 50, appears to be the leading candidate, though Watson also made a favorable first impression and Stockstill is held in high regard by the club's top decision-makers.

Stockstill joined the Orioles in December 2005 to oversee pro scouting and was given the title of international scouting director when the club began focusing efforts overseas in 2008. In April 2010, Stockstill switched titles with his older brother, David, and was put in charge of the organization's struggling farm system as player-development director.

Before coming to Baltimore, John Stockstill spent his entire professional career — as a minor league player, scout and executive — in the Chicago Cubs organization.

Roster moves

The Orioles made three moves Friday to drop their 40-man roster to 36.

Backup catcher Craig Tatum, who batted .195 with seven RBIs in 31 games for the Orioles in 2011, was claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros. The 28-year-old had spent parts of two years as the backup to Matt Wieters, but the Orioles are seeking a more seasoned veteran for reserve duties.

Right-hander pitcher Chris Jakubauskas and catcher-infielder Jake Fox passed through waivers and were outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. Because they have been outrighted before, both can refuse the assignment and become free agents. That's seemingly procedural since they are eligible to become minor league free agents five days after the World Series ends anyway. It is expected that both will explore their options.

Jakubauskas, 32, was 2-2 with a 5.72 ERA in 33 games (six starts) while Fox, 29, batted .246 with two homers and six RBIs in 27 games.

Cartoon bird returning

The Orioles will be sporting the cartoon bird on their hats in 2012 for the first time since 1988. The return of the cartoon bird had been expected, and it, and other uniform changes, will be officially announced in November.

A club source confirmed, however, that the Orioles will sport the cartoon bird hat throughout the year except once a week — likely Fridays — when they will wear the alternate "O" hats and black jerseys as they did in 2011. The 2012 cartoon bird will be a combination of the 1970 logo and the 1983 one but might resemble the older logo a bit more.

The jerseys will include a Camden Yards 20th anniversary patch on the right sleeve, and the "Baltimore" on the road jerseys will have a consistently sized script instead of tapering of the lettering, the source said.



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