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09/07/2007 11:36 AM ET
Pirates relieve GM Dave Littlefield of duties
Official press conference to be held at 2 p.m.
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The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced that General Manager Dave Littlefield has been relieved of his duties effective immediately. Pirates Senior Director of Player Development Brian Graham will serve as interim General Manager until a permanent replacement is found.

Pirates Chairman of the Board, Bob Nutting, announced his decision today after a thorough review of the organization since taking control of the organization in January.

"After eight months of listening and analyzing the situation, it has become clear that this decision was necessary to move our organization forward," said Nutting. "While there are many bright spots for us to build from, I am not satisfied with the overall performance and progress that has been made. I'm committed to building a successful organization and this is an important step in that process."

Nutting, who personally informed Littlefield of his decision this morning, felt it was best to announce the move now rather than at the end of the season.

"I felt the time was right to announce my decision to ensure that the organization is in the best possible position to attract the very best General Manager candidates," Nutting said. "In addition to allowing us more time to search for a replacement, it should allow more time for our new General Manager to make the necessary evaluations and staffing decisions."

This move will not impact the timing of the search process for the Pirates new President, according to Nutting.

"This decision is another important step in the transition of this organization," Nutting said. "The search process for our new club President has clarified for me that the President and General Manager positions are two distinct functions. I believe both individuals must have strong baseball backgrounds. The President will lead the overall day-to-day operations. It is clear however that most successful teams also have a strong General Manager in place with a single-minded focus on leading the baseball operations."

"While the search process for our new General Manager will begin immediately, it is far too early in that process to discuss possible candidates," Nutting added. "The appointment of Brian Graham as interim General Manager will ensure a stable operation until a permanent replacement is found. Brian brings years of industry experience and is a tremendous asset to our organization. I'm confident he will be able to steer our baseball operations forward in the interim."

Graham, 47, has spent more than 26 years in professional baseball and six overseeing the Pirates Player Development department. Prior to joining the Pirates, Graham served as a major league coach with the Baltimore Orioles (2000) and Cleveland Indians (1998-1999). In addition, Graham spent nine seasons as the minor league manager in the Cleveland Indians organization. He attended UCLA for four years and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Behavioral Science from National University in San Diego.

Littlefield, 47, was named the club's General Manager on July 13, 2001, thus becoming the 11th General Manager in the history of the Pirates.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dave. He is a consummate professional and was extremely dedicated to the Pittsburgh Pirates," Nutting said. "He and his wife Joanna have been tremendous ambassadors for the Pirates and our community. We wish him and his family nothing but the best."

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