NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Former New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya is leaving his job as senior vice president of the San Diego Padres to become a senior advisor to Major League Baseball Players Association head Tony Clark.

The union announced the decision Thursday.

The 56-year-old Minaya was born in the Dominican Republic and started in baseball management as a scout for the Texas Rangers, where he helped sign Sammy Sosa.

He became the major leagues’ first Hispanic general manager with the Montreal Expos from February 2002 until September 2004. He left the Expos to become GM of his hometown Mets, who fired him after the 2010 season. He was hired by the Padres in December 2011.

Minaya will “focus on the areas of domestic game development and international affairs and play,” the MLBPA said in a statement.

“I have long considered myself a players’ administrator with a complete belief that the players are not only the face of the game, but they provide the sport with its heart and soul,” Minaya said.

Minaya follows the path of Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, who left his job as executive vice president/senior adviser of the Padres after a dozen years in December 2013 to become a special assistant to Clark. Minaya is reversing the path of former major leaguer Tony Bernazard, who was a special assistant for the union from 1992 until he left to work the Minaya and the Mets from 2004-09.

Minaya was previously linked to a potential front-office role with the Yankees.

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