ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Sandy Alderson’s words slowed and he needed to clear his throat several times. Two days after his 87-year-old father died when he was hit by a car, the new New York Mets general manager attended the start of the annual GM meetings.

“If I can focus on the game, I’m fine,” he said, before coughing. “It’s tough, but I’m here.”

John Alderson was struck Saturday night while crossing the street in St. Petersburg, Fla. His son drove across the state for the baseball session and planned to drive back Monday night. Sandy Alderson planned on attending every day for about half the day until the meetings end Thursday. A memorial service is likely to be held Saturday.

“The family is gathering, and so I feel good about that, and I’ll be back there tonight,” he said.

While most teams limited participation to just their GM, the Mets had a full complement of officials that included assistant GM John Ricco, vice president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta and special assistant J.P. Ricciardi.

Alderson said Jose Oquendo would be interviewed Monday night for the manager’s job, and the Mets then would then decide whether to schedule additional first interviews or narrow the field to three or four candidates for second sessions.

Terry Collins and Bob Melvin appear to be the favorites to replace Jerry Manuel, who was fired along with GM Omar Minaya following a second straight losing season. Wally Backman, Chip Hale, DeMarlo Hale, Dave Jauss, Ken Oberkfell and Don Wakamatsu also have been interviewed.

Clint Hurdle interviewed, then was announced Monday as the new manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“I did tell him we felt he was a strong candidate but we were not prepared to curtail our first-round process based on the timetable of another club.” Alderson said. “We wish him well in Philadelphia and Atlanta.”

Second interviews will be more about “approach and style and coaches” than the first sessions, which focused on each candidates’ biography.

“Leadership is kind of the crux of the entire process,” Alderson said. “There are different approaches to that, so I think we have to be mindful of that fact. There are some who say that lighting a fire under players generally, these players, those are all characteristics that we’re going to take into account. But we’re not looking for somebody who just pushes buttons.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

pixy Alderson Attends Meetings Following Fathers Death

Watch & Listen LIVE