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Friday, August 19, 2011
Ned Colletti deflects Cubs GM talk

By Tony Jackson
ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, who grew up in Chicago and began his baseball career as a publicist and later a baseball-operations assistant with the Chicago Cubs, declined to directly address rumors he could be a candidate to replace Jim Hendry, who was fired on Friday as the Cubs GM.

"I have a contract and a commitment to the Dodgers," Colletti said. "Until somebody tells me otherwise, that is where my focus is and where my efforts will be."

Colletti, who has been the Dodgers GM since November 2005, signed a long-term contract extension in October 2009. The actual length of that extension has never been made public, and while Colletti does have an escape clause, it doesn't kick in until after next season.

However, with the Dodgers presently in bankruptcy and a question of whether Frank McCourt -- who hired Colletti and later signed him to that extension -- can maintain ownership of the club, McCourt might be hard-pressed to deny Colletti permission to talk to the Cubs if they were to request an interview.

Colletti expressed disappointment that Hendry was let go after nine seasons as GM. His tenure included three National League Central championships, and the team came tantalizingly close to an elusive World Series berth before blowing Game 6 and losing Game 7 of the NL Championship Series in 2003. Hendry had worked for the club in some capacity for 17 seasons.

"I consider Jimmy Hendry a good friend of mine, and I am sorry for what took place today," Colletti said. "But my interest is with L.A."

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.