Padres announce staff additions

The San Diego Padres announced the additions of first base coach Bobby Meacham and bench coach Craig Colbert to Bud Black's coaching staff for the 2007 season. The club also announced that pitching coach Darren Balsley, hitting coach Merv Rettenmund, third base coach Glenn Hoffman, bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds and bullpen catcher Mark Merila will return in the same roles they held last season.

"In addition to a strong staff returning, we have brought on board Craig Colbert and Bobby Meacham," Towers said. "I am pleased that Bud Black has recognized Craig's talent and is promoting him to the Major League level. Craig has been a valuable member of the Padres organization for many years. He's very familiar with our younger players, including many who are now playing at the Big League level. Additionally, Bobby's knowledge of the National League after coaching with the Marlins last season will be an important asset to our club."

"I'm excited about the staff we have in place for the upcoming season," Black said. "Having Glenn, Merv, Darren, Darrel and Mark coming back ensures tremendous continuity for the players. Craig provides further continuity with his vast knowledge of the Padres organization, having been a manager in the system, while Bobby brings experience as a Big League coach and a highly respected teacher. The entire staff's ability to communicate and teach will provide the leadership needed as we look forward to the 2007 season."

Meacham, 46, joins the Padres after serving as the third base coach for the Florida Marlins during the 2006 season. Prior to joining the Marlins staff, he worked as the Colorado Rockies roving infield coordinator in 2005. With over 26 years in professional baseball, Meacham has extensive experience as a manager, coach and instructor at the minor league level. He last managed the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Single-A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga from 2002-04, serving as manager for the California League team at the 2003 California-Carolina All-Star Game. Meacham previously spent nine years with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, including eight as a coach. He also coached in the Rockies and Kansas City Royals minor league systems, earning his first managerial job with the Royals Single-A Eugene club in 1992.

Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round (eighth overall) of the 1981 June Free Agent Draft, Meacham played six Major League seasons with the New York Yankees (1983-88). Primarily a shortstop, he batted .236 (324-for-1371) with 58 doubles, eight home runs, 114 RBI, 202 runs scored and 58 stolen bases in 457 career games. Meacham led the American League in sacrifice hits in two consecutive seasons, posting 14 in 1984 and 23 in 1985. He attended San Diego State University from 1979-81 and was a teammate of Padres manager Bud Black and Padre Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.

The 41-year-old Colbert has been at the helm of San Diego's Triple-A Portland affiliate since 2004, leading the Beavers to a 222-209 (.515) record during that span. Colbert began his managerial career in the Padres minor league system with Single-A Fort Wayne in 2000. He also managed at Single-A Lake Elsinore in 2001 and Double-A Mobile during the 2002-03 seasons. His 2001 Lake Elsinore club finished with a 91-49 regular-season mark and a share of the California League Championship. Following the season, the Storm were named Minor League Baseball's Team of the Year by Baseball America. Colbert recorded his 500th career managerial victory on July 19, 2006 and was named the Pacific Coast League's Best Manager Prospect in Baseball America's annual Best Tools survey near the end of last season.

A back-to-back recipient (2000-01) of the Jack Krol Award for excellence in player development in the Padres system, Colbert's teams have posted a 522-463 (.530) record. Colbert concluded his 13-year playing career as a player coach with San Diego's Triple-A club in Las Vegas in 1998. A catcher, Colbert was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 20th round of the 1986 June Free Agent Draft. He played in the Giants, Cleveland Indians and Padres organizations from 1986-98, including 72 Major League games with San Francisco over the 1992 and 1993 seasons.

Balsley, 42, enters his fourth full season as the Padres pitching coach after being named to the post on May 17, 2003. With a two-year extension, he will remain part of the club's staff through the 2008 Major League season. Balsley's 2006 staff led the National League with a 3.87 ERA (629 ER/1463.2 IP), marking the first time in franchise history the team has led the league in ERA.

Hitting coach Merv Rettenmund remains in the same capacity for 2007 as he did last season. The 63-year-old Rettenmund was named the club's hitting coach on June 15, 2006. The Padres batted .270 (902-for-3343) under Rettenmund's guidance and finished the season with a National League-best .279 average (804-for-2878) on the road. Rettenmund is in his second stint as San Diego's hitting coach as he also held the position from 1991-99.

Hoffman, 48, returns for his second season as the club's third base coach. The 2007 season will mark his ninth as a Major League coach and 32nd in professional baseball. Hoffman, who is the older brother of Padres pitcher Trevor Hoffman, served as the third base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1999-2005 and briefly took over as the club's manager for part of the 1998 season.

Entering his sixth full season as the Padres bullpen coach, the 44-year-old Akerfelds was originally given the assignment on June 11, 2001. He first joined the Padres as the pitching coach at Single-A Clinton in 1997 following a 12-year playing career.

Merila, 35, begins his 12th season as San Diego's bullpen catcher. The Padres 33rd round draft pick in 1994, Merila played two seasons in San Diego's minor league system before assuming bullpen catcher duties for the Major League club in 1996.

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