Coaches and Hirings

The coaching carousel within the San Diego Padres organization is almost set. A few spots remain open, such as the pitching coach in Fort Wayne and what to do with Rob Deer. Randy Ready has been officially named the manager at Fort Wayne and it has moved Gary Jones and Craig Colbert up to Double A and Tripe A, respectively.

The Padres have signed pitching coach Darren Balsley and bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds to one-year contracts for the 2004 season. Each member of the Padres coaching staff now has a contract that expires with the end of the 2004 season. That is also the final guaranteed year of manager Bruce Bochy's contract. Bochy's pact includes a club option for 2005.

The Padres have hired former Dodgers catcher Joe Ferguson to fill their newly created position of roving catcher coach. He'll also work with minor league pitchers. And former Marlins coach Tommy Sandt will be the hitting coach at Triple-A Portland. Sandt was the first base coach for Florida's 1997 World Series champions.

Jeff Gardner, who lost his job as manager of the Padres' Class A team at Lake Elsinore at the end of the season, has been rehired by the club as their advance scout. Gardner was the Padres' advance scout from 1995-2000. His reports before the 1998 playoffs won rave reviews and were credited as playing a key role in the Padres National League pennant. The Padres went without an advance scout in 2003, and Padres manager Bruce Bochy wanted to recreate the position.

Former Padres general manager Randy Smith was rehired by San Diego as director of professional and international scouting, his third stint with the club. Smith, 40, spent last season as a consultant to the Padres. He had been general manager of the Detroit Tigers from 1995 until being fired early in the 2002 season.

Felix Francisco was named coordinator of Latin American scouting, and Elanis Westbrooks added as a professional scout.

Randy Ready has been officially announced as the manager of Fort Wayne of the Midwest League. Tom Tornincasa will return as hitting coach, but no pitching coach has been announced at this time.

The addition of Ready moves Gary Jones up to Mobile and Craig Colbert to Portland after the departure of Rick Sweet. Bill Schonely, a Portland legend in broadcasting, was sad to see Sweet move on, saying he was "a pleasure to work with and a man who knew how to teach." Wally Joyner won't return as the Padres' minor league hitting instructor. Rob Deer, coaching in the Arizona Fall League for Peoria, is likely to succeed Joyner.

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