Back in Black: Padres Hire Bud Black

The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 8, 2006; 11:15 PM

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres found their new manager just up the freeway. Bud Black was hired to replace Bruce Bochy, giving the Los Angeles Angels' pitching coach his first major league managing job _ and drastically reducing his commute. Black lives in exclusive Rancho Santa Fe just north of San Diego.

"Good dude," Tony Gwynn said Wednesday about his former teammate at San Diego State. "He's been in the game a long time and really warrants this opportunity. I think he'll do well."

Padres CEO Sandy Alderson said Black was offered the job and accepted it Tuesday night. Alderson said the deal was still being finalized, and wouldn't say how many years Black's contract is for. Black will be introduced at the Padres' awards banquet Thursday night.

"I think he's an individual with intellect as well as an instinctive feel for the game," Alderson said. "He understands what we're trying to accomplish here in San Diego, which is to win as well as develop players at the minor league level. He just seemed to have the right package of qualities for us."

Black was not available for comment.

The 49-year-old Black has been the Angels' pitching coach for the last seven seasons, including when they won the World Series in 2002. He pitched in the big leagues for 15 seasons, helping the Kansas City Royals win the 1985 World Series.

"I think that Buddy's baseball knowledge and ability to communicate have made him so coveted the past couple of years," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He not only has a great understanding of the pitching side, but a grasp of the fundamental side of baseball that every team needs to be successful."

Black was one of six candidates to interview with general manager Kevin Towers. Black got a second interview on Tuesday, with owner John Moores and Alderson.

Dusty Baker, one of the leading candidates, said he was told Wednesday morning that he didn't get the job.

"Life's full of disappointments some time and you have to deal with them," said Baker, who formerly managed the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants.

Baker spoke highly of Black, who inherits a team that relies on pitching and defense at spacious Petco Park.

"Blackie's one of my favorite people," Baker said. "He's a good baseball person and just a good person."

Bochy managed the Padres to consecutive NL West titles for the first time in club history, but wasn't offered a contract extension beyond 2007. He accepted a three-year contract with San Francisco late last month.

Bochy was with the Padres organization for 24 seasons, the last 12 as manager.

Padres right-hander Jake Peavy said he's never met Black but has heard nothing but praise for him.

"I'm excited. I obviously didn't want a new manager and I'm not excited about Boch's departure, but I like the guy we've got," Peavy said. "I think it's only going to make our pitching that much better. I think he's going to understand all aspects of the game. When he sees the kind of ball we need to play in this ballpark, he'll know that we need to work around pitching and defense.

"To get a local guy and a well-qualified individual is a good move," Peavy said.

Gwynn said Black is a lot like Bochy.

"He knows the players and he knows what the players have gone through, being a former player," said Gwynn, the former Padres batting star who coaches his alma mater. "He's got the wit, he's got the whole package. He's really a funny guy."

Gwynn said Black drops by campus before going to spring training every year, and the two have talked about his chances of getting a job as manager.

"You knew sooner or later he was going to get a shot," Gwynn said.

"As a player you knew he was going to get to the big leagues, and then after playing against him you realize if he wanted to coach or be a pitching coach or one day be a manager, he'd do it," Gwynn said. "He's very shrewd, very observant. You can't slip things by him."

Black was 121-116 with a 3.84 ERA during his career, pitching for Seattle, Kansas City, Cleveland, Toronto and San Francisco.


AP Sports Writer John Nadel in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

© 2006 The Associated Press