John Hart steps down as senior advisor for Braves

John Hart has stepped down as senior advisor for the Atlanta Braves, effective immediately, the team announced Friday.

"This was a difficult decision, but it's one that I made with the best interests of the Atlanta Braves in mind," Hart said in a statement. "With the hiring of Alex Anthopoulos as general manager, this organization is in great hands. I believe that the talent of the Major League players, combined with the young talent soon to arrive, makes the Braves poised for a great run of success.

"This is a good time to step aside and let Alex and his group put their stamp on this great franchise. I still have a tremendous passion for this great game, and I plan to stay active and contribute to the game."

Hart was removed as Braves team president when Anthopoulos, a former Dodgers and Blue Jays executive, was named general manager on Monday.

The Braves said Hart would be pursuing other opportunities outside the organization.

"I want to thank Braves fans -- the best fans in baseball -- for your patience during this rebuilding time," Hart said. "You will soon see the winning team that you deserve."

Hart, 69, took over as interim general manager in 2014 after the late-season firing of Frank Wren and wound up staying on as head of baseball operations while the team groomed Coppolella to take over as GM.

The move comes as the Braves are the subject of an investigation by Major League Baseball into violations related to both the domestic amateur draft and the international signing market.

A source told ESPN that Hart did not play a role in the numerous rules violations.

General manager John Coppolella and international scouting director Gordon Blakeley resigned after the regular season, and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to announce the results of the investigation in December.

The Braves are subject to a mix of sanctions that could include a fine, loss of picks in the June first-year draft and the loss of international pool space.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.