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Huntington out, Williams in

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St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates completed a clean sweep of their management team Monday morning, announcing the departure of general manager Neal Huntington and the arrival of new team president Travis Williams.

The club appointed Kevan Graves, who had been assistant general manager, to serve as interim manager during what it termed “the transition period.”

Pirates owner and board chairman Bob Nutting said in a statement that he appreciated Huntington’s dedication to the organization and the city during his 12-year tenure.

“His time with the Pirates should always be remembered for ending a long stretch of futility and bringing Postseason baseball back to Pittsburgh,” the statement read.

“This past season was by far the most frustrating and challenging season that I have experienced as owner. It became clear to me as the season progressed that significant change was necessary in order to refresh our entire operations.”

The beginning of the end for the management team came on the season’s final day when manager Clint Hurdle was dismissed, and the next domino to fall was that of team president Frank Coonelly, who parted ways with the club last week.

Nutting said the decisions related to the management team were not easy and were the result “of a systematic and thorough review, and further reinforced through multiple conversations with people that I trust and respect throughout baseball.”

Nutting said it was important that the new team president be on board to help search for the new head of baseball operations.

“With the naming of Travis Williams to the position of president today, we will immediately begin the search process,” Nutting said. “I am confident that we will find the right person.”

Nutting said the club would put its search for a new field manager on hold until a new general manager can be named.

He said the club is confident in the available managerial candidates and added that the hiring of a new general manager “will only help clarify the situation further for those candidates.”

Williams, meanwhile, will officially start work Nov. 1 and will oversee day-to-day operations of the organization, according to a club news release.

Williams spent 11 years with the Pittsburgh Penguins, with the bulk of that time in the position of chief operating officer. In November 2018, he was named president of business operations for the New York Islanders.

“This is a homecoming for me, both personally and professionally,” Williams said in a statement released by the Pirates. “It is a tremendous opportunity to come back to a city and a team that I love.

“I am excited about working with Bob and the rest of the Pirates family to return this franchise to a winning tradition. Today, we turn the page and start writing a new chapter in the history of the Pirates.

“We are committed to a refresh of our entire operations. The first step in this process is to immediately begin the search for new leadership of our baseball operations. Within our business operations, we will focus on enhancing our relationships with the fans, the ballpark experience and our commitment to the Pittsburgh community.”