Manager Bud Black won’t be made a scapegoat for the San Diego Padres’ worst finish in 15 years.
The Padres announced late Monday afternoon that Black and most of his staff would return in 2009. The Padres finished 63-99 this year, 21 games behind the Dodgers.
It was their worst finish since going 61-101 in 1993.
Although Black is under contract through next season, management declined to publicly address his status for next season in the final days of their lost season.
“We have the confidence and trust in Buddy to lead the club back to our winning ways,” General Manager Kevin Towers said in a statement. “When we hired him before the 2007 season, the most important element to us was to bring in a manager who would continue to grow with the Padres’ organization.”
Towers said in a text message that he wouldn’t have any more comment until he and Black hold a news conference at Petco Park today.
Black didn’t return phone or text messages.
Asked after Sunday’s season-ending loss to Pittsburgh if he wanted to come back, Black said, “Yeah. I love managing. It’s a great job, yeah. I like this organization. Decisions will be made.”
Several players lobbied for Black to return.
“I’ve got no problems with Buddy,” ace Jake Peavy said Sunday. “I think Buddy’s done a nice job. It’s certainly not Buddy’s fault, none of these coaches, it’s not their fault the way we have performed as a team. I want to make that very clear.
“Buddy’s not responsible for this team losing 99 games, nor are any of those coaches who may or may not be here next year. That should be made very clear.”
Black is 152-173 in two seasons. He was hired in November 2006 after Bruce Bochy was allowed to jump to the division-rival San Francisco Giants despite having a year left on his contract.
Yovani Gallardo will start Game 1 for the host Milwaukee Brewers in the National League division series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Brewers ace CC Sabathia still start Game 2.
Gallardo returned from a torn knee ligament and pitched four innings Thursday against Pittsburgh in his first start since May 1.
The 22-year-old right-hander gave up one run and three hits while throwing 67 pitches.
Pitcher Kyle Lohse and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a $41-million, four-year contract.
Lohse was 15-6 with a 3.78 earned-run average this season and led the staff with 200 innings. He agreed to a $4.25-million, one-year contract on March 14.