Managerial Changes

Rick Sweet is no longer affiliated with the San Diego Padres. Sweet has been named the Manager of the Erie SeaWolves, leaving his Portland Beavers career behind.<br><br> Sweet, 49, had managed the San Diego Padres' Class AAA club in Portland, Ore., the past three seasons.

"I was interested in managing again and, even though it's moving down a level to Double-A, I really liked the fit with the Tigers," Sweet told the Eerie Times News. "I know (Tigers manager) Alan Trammell and I have a lot of respect for him and (Ezell), and I've heard tremendous things about (Tigers general manager) Dave Dombrowski. I really like the direction they're going."

So who replaces Sweet?

The departure of Sweet will trigger a series of advancements in the Padres' minor league system.

Craig Colbert will move up from manager of Double-A Mobile to manage Portland.

Colbert started his managerial career with Fort Wayne in 2000 and guided the Wizards to a 72-65 record. He was quickly promoted to Lake Elsinore where he earned Manager of the Year after guiding the Storm to a 91-49 record and a League Co-Championship. Again Colbert was rewarded and has spent the last two years with Mobile compiling a 137-140 record.

Gary Jones will be promoted from being the manager at low Class A Fort Wayne to manage Mobile.

Jones has won Manager of the Year four times since he began coaching in 1990, including 197 when he was named Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America. 2003 was his first year in the Padres system after spending three years with the Boston Red Sox organization at Pawtucket and eight with the Oakland Athletics organization at various stops in the Minors.

A source within the Padres organization has all but confirmed, pending contracts, that former Padres infielder Randy Ready will become the Fort Wayne manager.

"We don't expect to hear anything official until after the contracts are all up which I think is up the end of October/first week of November," said the source.

Ready had a dispute over his contract with The Detroit Tigers. Ready won NY-Penn Manager of the Year honors in his first season as a professional manager, when he led the O-Tigers to their first of two straight Stedler Division crowns and an appearance in the league championship series in 2002.

Ready led Oneonta to a 45-30 record and a playoff appearance this past summer, one season after the Tigers finished with their best record since 1990, at 47-27.

Other Coaching news:

Former Dodgers catcher Joe Ferguson is the roving catching coach, a job the club just created. He'll also work with minor league pitchers.

Tommy Sandt will be the hitting coach at Class AAA Portland this season. He was Jim Leyland's first-base coach in 1997 when the Marlins won the World Series.

The Big Club:

Pitching coach Darren Balsley and bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds have signed their new contracts. Each got a one-year deal. No coaches are signed beyond 2004, which also is the final guaranteed year of manager Bruce Bochy's contract. Bochy's pact includes a club option for 2005.

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