Padres name coaching staff for 2009 season

San Diego, CA- The San Diego Padres announced today the additions of hitting coach Jim Lefebvre and bench coach Ted Simmons to Bud Black's coaching staff for the 2009 season. As previously announced, pitching coach Darren Balsley, first base coach Rick Renteria, third base coach Glenn Hoffman and bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds will return in the same roles they held last season.

Additionally, bullpen catchers Mark Merila and Justin Hatcher will serve in the same capacities in 2009.

"We are very fortunate to add two coaches who have a history with this organization," said general manager Kevin Towers.  "Jim's experience as a manager, hitting coach and instructor make him a perfect fit for our young ball club while Ted adds the dynamic of having worked in both the front office and dugout at the Major League level."

"I am excited to welcome Jim Lefebvre and Ted Simmons to our staff," Black said.  "Their knowledge and experience will help every player on our team and the familiarity they have with the players and organization as a whole will allow them to smoothly transition into their new roles."

            Lefebvre (luh-FEVER), 66, has been the Padres minor league hitting consultant since April of 2006.  In addition, he served as manager of the Chinese National Team since it was formed in 2003, including during the World Baseball Classic in March of 2006 and 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.  He spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons conducting hitting clinics for Major League Baseball International in Holland, Italy and the Czech Republic. 

Lefebvre owns a .485 winning percentage (417-442) as a Major League manager over parts of six seasons with the Seattle Mariners (1989-91), Chicago Cubs (1992-93) and Milwaukee Brewers (interim, 1999). He has served as a Major League coach with five organizations: Los Angeles Dodgers (1978-79, first base coach), San Francisco Giants (1980-82, hitting coach), Oakland A's (1987-88, hitting/third base coach; 1994-95, hitting coach), Brewers (1998-99, hitting coach) and Cincinnati Reds (2002, hitting coach).  Lefebvre was San Francisco's Director of Player Development from 1983-85 and also managed three seasons at the minor league level (1978, '85-86), twice earning Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year honors.  

            Signed as an amateur free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1962, Lefebvre played parts of eight Major League seasons with the Dodgers (1965-1972).  He was voted the National League Rookie of the Year as a second baseman for the 1965 World Champion club.  In 922 Big League games, he batted .251 (756-for-3014) with 126 doubles, 18 triples, 74 home runs, 404 RBI and 313 runs scored.  From 1973-76, Lefebvre played in the Japanese Pacific League for the Lotte Orions, and also served as a coach for the team in 1977.

            The 59-year-old Simmons began the 2008 season as the bench coach for the Brewers before being reassigned to an advisory role within the Milwaukee organization on September 15.  Prior to 2008, his first year coaching professionally, he spent nine years in the Padres organization as a Major League Scout and Assistant to General Manager Kevin Towers (2002-07) and Vice President of Baseball Operations (1999-2001).  He previously served six seasons as a Major League Scout and Assistant to the General Manager in the Cleveland Indians organization from 1993-98.  Simmons was Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1992-93, guiding the Pirates to the National League East Championship in 1992.  He served as Director of Player Development with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1988-91.

A former switch-hitting catcher, Simmons played parts of 21 Big League seasons with St. Louis (1968-80), Milwaukee (1981-85) and Atlanta (1986-88).  In 2,456 Major League games, he batted .285 (2472-for-8680) with 248 home runs and 1,389 RBI.  An eight-time All-Star, he ranks ninth all-time in hits and fourth in RBI among switch-hitters.

Balsley, 44, enters his sixth full season as the Padres pitching coach after being named to the post on May 17, 2003.  Since beginning his first full season as pitching coach in 2004, the Padres have posted a National League-best 4.03 ERA.  He guided the Padres staff to a Major League-best 3.70 ERA in 2007, and a National League-low 3.87 ERA in 2006, marking the first two times in franchise history the team has led the league in ERA.

Entering his second season as the Padres first base coach, the 46-year-old Renteria was originally named to the position December 12, 2007.  He spent the previous four seasons managing in the Padres minor league system at Single-A Lake Elsinore (2004-06) and Triple-A Portland (2007).  Renteria joined the San Diego system as a coach at Lake Elsinore in 2003 after managing for four seasons in the Florida Marlins organization. 

            Hoffman, 50, returns for his fourth season as the club's third base coach.  The 2009 campaign will mark his 11th as a Major League coach and 34th in professional baseball.  Hoffman served as 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 eighth full season as the Padres bullpen coach, the 46-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, 36, begins his 14th 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.

            Hatcher, 28, enters his second season as the Padres bullpen catcher.  A former 25th-round selection by the Texas Rangers in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, he was signed by the Padres as a minor league free agent on August 15, 2006.  He ended a five-year minor league career after the 2007 season.

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