Padres offense needed a jolt

The Padres, ranked at or near the bottom of most every offensive statistic in the National League, fired hitting coach Dave Magadan on Thursday and replaced him with former hitting coach Merv Rettenmund.

Magadan, 43, had been the Padres hitting coach since the start of the 2002 season.

Rettenmund, 63, was the Padres hitting coach from 1991-1999. In 2000, he opted to sign a multi-year contract with the Braves rather than accept another one-year contract with the Padres. Rettenmund had been working for Toronto this season as a roving minor league hitting instructor.

The Padres relieved Magadan after Thursday afternoon's 7-3 loss to the Dodgers to conclude a 3-3 homestand.

"Basically, this came down to results," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said of Magadan's dismissal. "Dave is a dedicated professional and a good person. It would be hard to find anyone who worked harder than he did. Dave's not entirely to blame, but we weren't getting the results. We're trying to jump-start the offense."

Said Magadan: "I was absolutely shocked. You never think your job is forever. I know we weren't doing what some people thought we should do, but there was no indication, no advance warning. I was never told that we needed to get going or changes would be made. Hopefully, I'm the reason and these guys turn it around."

The Padres rank last in the National League in team batting average (.253) and next-to-last in runs (290), homers (54), on-base percentage (.323) and slugging percentage (.393).

Worse in management's eyes, they have been outhit (.248-.231), outscored (155-132) and outhomered (42-25) in 37 games (18-19) at Petco Park.

Magadan is only the third coach relieved in midseason by the Padres since Bruce Bochy became the manager in 1995. The most recent was pitching coach Greg Booker, who was fired in June 2003. Ben Oglivie was replaced by Duane Espy early in 2000 shortly after succeeding Rettenmund.

"The offense is not what we had hoped," Bochy said.

The Padres thought the offseason addition of such veterans as Mike Piazza, Mike Cameron and Vinny Castilla would address some of their past offensive woes. That hasn't happened.

Towers said the Padres are happy to return Rettenmund to the organization. "We didn't want to see Merv leave," Towers said. "We had success here with Merv. "Players took to Merv, he's a very positive guy."

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