PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The Pittsburgh Pirates fired general manager Cam Bonifay on Monday after nine seasons.

Since Bonifay became general manager in 1993, Pittsburgh posted eight straight losing seasons and currently is in last place in the NL Central, 18 games behind the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates' 19-41 record is the second worst in the major leagues, better only than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Bonifay, 49, has come under increased pressure this year as the pitching staff was decimated by injuries and the Pirates moved into a new ballpark.

Pirates CEO and managing partner Kevin McClatchy announced that Bonifay had been dismissed as general manager and senior vice president Monday, one day after the Pirates beat the Minnesota Twins 11-8. Pittsburgh is 2-8 in its last 10 games.

Assistant general manager Roy Smith will assume Bonifay's duties on an interim basis. McClatchy said firing Bonifay was ``very tough'' because he had been a loyal member of the organization.

``This is a very important time for our franchise and from a baseball standpoint we believe we needed to make a change,'' McClatchy said in a prepared statement.

Bonifay joined the Pirates organization as a scout in September 1988 and later became assistant general manager. He took over as general manager in June 1993, replacing Ted Simmons.