Fredi Gonzalez was fired Wednesday as manager of the Florida Marlins, whose search for a full-time successor began with a phone call to Bobby Valentine.

Gonzalez was dismissed with Florida at 34-36 and in fourth place in the NL East, 7 1/2 games behind first-place Atlanta.

“This team seems to be stuck in neutral, and our competitors are on the accelerator,” president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said, hours before the Marlins were to face the Orioles. “We were looking for a leadership change to hopefully get us on the accelerator. That’s a big part of what we did today.”

Fredi Gonzalez was fired Wednesday as manager of the Florida Marlins, whose search for a full-time successor began with a phone call to Bobby Valentine.

Gonzalez was dismissed with Florida at 34-36 and in fourth place in the NL East, 7 1/2 games behind first-place Atlanta.

“This team seems to be stuck in neutral, and our competitors are on the accelerator,” president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said, hours before the Marlins were to face the Orioles. “We were looking for a leadership change to hopefully get us on the accelerator. That’s a big part of what we did today.”

Edwin Rodriguez, who has spent the past 1 1/2 seasons as manager of Triple-A New Orleans, took over as manager on an interim basis.

Also fired were bench coach Carlos Tosca and hitting coach Jim Presley. They were replaced on an interim basis by Brandon Hyde and John Mallee.

“We owe it to our fans to put this team in the best possible position to win,” owner Jeffrey Loria said in a statement. “Everyone knows how I feel about winning. That’s the reason we’re making this change.”

Gonzalez is the third manager to lose his job this season. He follows Trey Hillman at Kansas City and Dave Trembley at Baltimore.

Immediately after firing Gonzalez, the Marlins began searching for his successor.

“Bobby Valentine is a candidate for this position. He was spoken to by me today,” club president David Samson said. “I told him Fredi had been dismissed, and that we were interested in speaking with him in the very near future about our opening.”

Samson said the list of candidates includes Rodriguez.

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