CHICAGO -- Cleveland Indians advance scout Neal Huntington appears to be the frontrunner for the Pirates' general manager position.
An announcement could come as early as next week.
"It really makes me happy to hear, because he's such a quality guy," said former Montreal Expos GM Kevin Malone, who gave Huntington his first big league job in 1992. "He's very intelligent and he's a hard worker. He has the right demeanor and personality to bring the Buccos to the next level. This is a good hire."
Pirates team president Frank Coonelly responded to questions about Huntington via e-mail Friday.
"It is too early to comment on possible candidates for our general manager position," Coonelly said. "We have had numerous interviews with multiple candidates, all of which would make for an excellent choice. As I have stated in the past, this is an extremely critical hire. It is important that we find the right person for the general manager position who can move our baseball operations forward."
Huntington did not return calls.
Huntington, 37, is a special assistant to the general manager for the Cleveland Indians. He would replace Dave Littlefield, who two weeks ago was fired as Pirates GM.
Coonelly has said the Pirates are seeking a GM with a strong baseball background and experience developing players from the minor leagues to the majors. Coonelly added he was open to interviewing assistant GMs.
Huntington graduated from Amherst University, where he was a NCAA Division III All-American first baseman as a senior. …