Padres will keep affiliates working together

The San Diego Padres' minor league system has been undergoing changes, beginning with the official hiring of Grady Fuson as Vice President of Player Development and Scouting. The continuity within the ranks of the minors, however, will remain largely intact.

The only exception is in the Northwest League.

Eugene Emeralds manager Roy Howell, affectionately called "Target" by the players he has coached, will not return to the short-season club.

Along with Howell, hitting coach Ben Ogilvie will not return to the squad.

"I think they are both good baseball people," Bill Bryk, the San Diego Padres minor league field coordinator, said. "I am prejudiced. I have been with Ben a long time, back in our Pittsburgh days, and sometimes change is good. Roy, I know, did not want to go back to Eugene. He wanted to move up. Change will be good for him."

Who will be coaching the Ems next year?

"It is going to come from within the system," said Bryk. The official announcement is expected to come soon and with Fuson taking over, the staff wanted to leave the decision-making on what news filtered out to their new department head.

Fuson was unavailable for comment on Thursday with the Padres' Awards Dinner in full swing.

"It looks like everybody else is going back to the same spot," Bryk added.

In Fort Wayne, Randy Ready returns to manage the Wizards. He was in line for a possible promotion to the Big League squad before the Padres decided on going in the direction of Glenn Hoffman – the brother of Trevor.

Ready has guided the Wizards to two straight playoff berths. Rick Renteria and Craig Colbert will return to their respective clubs, the Lake Elsinore Storm and Portland Beavers. Both interviewed for the third base coaching job in San Diego as well. Renteria led the Storm to the Championship series in the California League this year.

In Mobile, Gary Jones returns for his third year managing the BayBears.

The decision to retain most of the components within the system was summed up by Bryk:

"It has taken us seven years and I am proud of what our managers have done. Getting players who can help out in the big leagues or for trades is what we are here for.

"We had several players who aided us in trades. We had eight players come up and help this year."

At the Padres' awards dinner on Thursday night, Jared Wells took home Pitcher of the Year honors, Ben Johnson won Player of the Year honors and Renteria won Manager of the Year.

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