SAN DIEGO -- Chances are, the fourth candidate to interview for the Padres' vacant general manager post didn't need directions from the airport to Petco Park on Thursday.
Billy Eppler, assistant general manager of the Yankees, is a San Diego native who grew up here and went to University of San Diego High.
Eppler became the fourth candidate to interview for the job -- the Padres are replacing Josh Byrnes, who was dismissed on June 22 -- in the last seven days.
Eppler joined the Yankees in 2004, and he was their director of pro scouting (2005-11) before later being promoted to assistant general manager.
The Yankees' media guide states that he assists general manager Brian Cashman "in all areas of Major League Operations including player acquisitions, roster composition and management, staffing and personnel decisions, and player contract negotiations. In addition, he oversees all phases and personnel in the Yankees' Major League and professional scouting departments both domestically and internationally."
On Wednesday, the team interviewed Ray Montgomery, scouting director of the D-backs. The Padres had previously interviewed former Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest, as well as Dodgers vice president of amateur scouting Logan White.
San Diego executive chairman Ron Fowler and team president and CEO Mike Dee have conducted the interviews. Dee said Wednesday that he expects the new GM to be on the job sometime after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
The list of GM candidates could see additions and subtractions.
So far, three candidates -- David Forst of the A's, Mike Chernoff of the Indians and Jason McLeod of the Cubs -- have declined interviews. Forst is an assistant GM, while Chernoff holds the same post with the Indians, and McLeod, who previously worked for the Padres, is the Cubs' scouting director.
San Diego's senior vice president of baseball operations, Omar Minaya, has said he will not ask for an interview. Current Padres assistant GM A.J. Hinch is a viable candidate for the job. He's handling the day-to-day operations of the big league team.
Two assistant GMs -- Mike Hazen of the Red Sox and A.J. Preller of the Rangers -- have indicated that they'll interview for the job.
A CBSSports.com report Wednesday said the Padres would interview Kim Ng, a former assistant GM with the Yankees and Dodgers who is the senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball.