Bochy to be named Giants' new manager

Friday, October 27th 2006, 6:06 am
By: News On 6

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Bruce Bochy is leaving the San Diego Padres for their division rival up the California coast in San Francisco.

Bochy reached a preliminary deal to become the Giants' new skipper, and was still working out details late Thursday after meeting with team officials most of the day.

Bochy had agreed in principle to take the job left vacant when Felipe Alou's contract was not renewed, two baseball officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the final details of his contract were still pending.

Barring any last minute snags, Bochy was to be introduced at a news conference Friday. Normally, Major League Baseball frowns upon such announcements during the World Series, but the Giants will be excused because Bochy is set to leave Monday for Japan with an all-star team.

He was the only candidate to replace Alou who has previous major league managerial experience, something general manager Brian Sabean said he preferred.

The Giants received permission from the Padres on Wednesday to talk to Bochy, who traveled to the Bay Area on Thursday to meet with Sabean and other team officials.

The Giants had only a seven day window in which to come to agreement with Bochy because he is employed by another team. Bochy, who has one year left on his contract, and Sabean already had an informal conversation about the job.

Multiple calls to Bochy and Sabean went unreturned Thursday evening.

The 51 year old Bochy, who just finished his 12th season as the Padres' manager, has guided San Diego to back to back NL West titles and is the winningest manager in franchise history. He has spent the last 24 years in the organization, dating to his playing days.

He was due to make $1.9 million in guaranteed money in 2007 from the Padres, and was expected to sign a long-term deal with the Giants.

Giants first baseman Mark Sweeney, who played for Bochy in San Diego for 3 1/2 seasons, believes his former skipper would be a good fit in San Francisco.

``I don't know what they're going to be doing, but I don't think it's just a walkthrough session,'' Sweeney said Thursday. ``If they're looking for experience, I think Boch is that guy. The one thing it's going to do, and it's good for our organization, is if there are potential free agents looking for a manager to play for, Bochy's that guy.

``It would definitely benefit us in getting some free agents who might go elsewhere. I just think that goes a long way in deciding a team. It adds to it that you get a guy who has that credibility and experience.''

San Francisco, which has 11 potential free agents including Barry Bonds, did not renew the 71 year old Alou's contract after the Giants finished their second straight losing season and third in a row out of the playoffs.

The Giants on Monday interviewed New York Mets third base coach Manny Acta. Giants bench coach Ron Wotus and Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Bud Black also interviewed. None has major league managerial experience.

Bochy's Padres made the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time, but were eliminated in the first round for the second straight year by the St. Louis Cardinals.