Saturday December 15th, 2018 4:33AM

Braves hire former Dodgers, Blue Jays exec Anthopoulos as GM

By The Associated Press
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ATLANTA — The remake of the Atlanta Braves' management was completed Monday when Alex Anthopoulos was named general manager and John Hart was removed as team president.

Anthopoulos, a former Dodgers and Blue Jays executive, will have autonomy of baseball operations, giving him more power than any Braves general manager since John Schuerholz served from 1990 to 2007. Anthopoulos also was given the title of executive vice president, while Hart will assume a senior adviser role, team chairman Terry McGuirk announced at a news conference that Hart did not attend.

Anthopoulos was to fly to Orlando on Monday night to represent the Braves at baseball's general managers' meetings.

He spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers' vice president of baseball operations after six years as Toronto's general manager.

Anthopoulos succeeds John Coppolella, who was forced to resign as general manager on Oct. 2 after an investigation by Major League Baseball disclosed rule violations committed by the Braves in the international player market.

"Alex is a man of integrity and he will operate in a way that will make all of our Braves fans proud," McGuirk said.

McGuirk apologized to fans "on behalf of the entire Braves family" for the scandal.

"The past few months have been the toughest in the storied history of the Atlanta Braves franchise," he said. "Frankly, the Atlanta Braves have not lived up to our standard that the fans expect of us and that we expect of ourselves."

McGuirk said he was told by Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday "the investigation has been completed for some time."

He said he expects to learn within two weeks what fine or other penalties the Braves will receive.

When asked who made the decision for Hart to immediately hand over control of baseball operations, McGuirk said, "It just became obvious this was the right thing to do at this time, and he and I made that decision together."

Hart temporarily assumed general manager duties while leading the search for Coppolella's replacement.

Gordon Blakeley, the team's international scouting chief, also resigned last month following the disclosure of international scouting violations.

Anthopoulos said the investigation had no impact on his interest in the Braves.

"For me more than anything else, who are you going to work for and who are you going to work with?" Anthopoulos said. "Regardless of what the fallout was going to be or what the sanctions may be, that's not going to change who I'm going to go to war with day in and day out."

Anthopoulos said the Braves, who opened SunTrust Park in 2017 and whose minor league organization was named the best in the game by Baseball America, are "one of the premier jobs in all of sports."

"The young talent here is as good as you're going to get in the game, and even here at the big league level, you have some exciting players as well," he said. "The opportunity here, the upside, is through the roof."

Braves manager Brian Snitker and former manager and current senior adviser Bobby Cox attended the news conference. Cox was part of the Braves management team that met with Anthopoulos at SunTrust Park during a break between Games 5 and 6 of the World Series.

Cox said Anthopoulos was "a home run" in the interview.

"He's smart as heck and a workaholic," Cox said. "I've heard that from everyone."

Anthopoulos began his baseball career with the Montreal Expos as a publicity intern before moving to scouting for three years. He joined Toronto after the 2003 season as a scouting coordinator and earned a promotion to VP of baseball operations and assistant GM in 2006 before taking over as GM.

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