NEW YORK (AP) — Paul DePodesta is joining Sandy Alderson in the New York Mets’ front office, the second high-profile hiring by the new general manager.

DePodesta, the former GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was hired as vice president of player development and scouting, the Mets said Monday. He joins former Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi, hired last week as a special assistant to Alderson.

Alderson also conducted interviews this past weekend with candidates for the managerial job, meeting with Wally Backman, Terry Collins and Chip Hale in California.

Bob Melvin and Dave Jauss met with Alderson on Thursday.

All five came from within the organization. Hale is the Mets’ third base coach, Jauss was bench coach for fired manager Jerry Manuel, Melvin is a scout, Collins serves as the club’s minor league infield coordinator and Backman was a Class A manager last season.

Alderson plans to begin interviewing outside candidates this week. He’ll meet with Boston bench coach DeMarlo Hale on Tuesday, and Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle and Don Wakamatsu on Wednesday at Citi Field. Wakamatsu, fired as manager of the Seattle Mariners in August, was hired as bench coach by the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.

DePodesta is a Harvard graduate who played baseball and football for the Crimson, and Alderson is a graduate of Harvard Law School. They will team with assistant GM John Ricco, a holdover from the staff of fired GM Omar Minaya.

A former Cleveland Indians intern, advance scout and special assistant to the GM, DePodesta was an assistant GM of the Oakland Athletics from 1999-03, and was 31 when he became GM of the Dodgers in January 2004. He was fired in October 2005.

“Paul has one of the top analytical minds in the game and also has a strong background in more traditional aspects of player development and amateur scouting,” Alderson said. “He will help establish direction, standards and continuity in all areas of our player development domestically and internationally.”

He joined the San Diego Padres as a special assistant for baseball operations in July 2006, when Alderson was the team’s chief executive officer. DePodesta had been Padres executive vice president since November 2008.

“I am thrilled to reunite with Sandy,” DePodesta said. “I know firsthand the type of vision and leadership he brings to a franchise. This is a tremendous opportunity to help develop a winning culture.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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