<
>

Pedrique replaces Brenly in lost season

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks fired manager Bob Brenly
on Friday in the midst of their worst season since their expansion
campaign of 1998.

Diamondbacks' third-base coach Al Pedrique was named interim
manager for the remainder of the season.

Hall of Famer Robin Yount, the team's bench coach, resigned out of loyalty to Brenly, general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said. Pitching coach Chuck Kniffin also was fired.

Pedrique, who played parts of three seasons with the Mets, Pittsburgh and Detroit, was a manager in the minors for eight
seasons. He managed Arizona's Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders in 2002 and '03.

"I think it makes my job a lot easier," Pedrique said, "knowing that I've had those kids in the past -- last year, two years ago. They know where I come from. They know I'm an old-school manager."

In a coaching shuffle, Mark Davis moves from bullpen coach to
pitching coach, and Glen Sherlock from first base to third. Tommy
Jones, the organization's director of player development, takes over as first-base coach.

Lorenzo Bundy, the hitting coach for Tucson, will become bench coach.

A former major league catcher and television analyst, Brenly was
the second manager in the franchise's six-year history. He took
over from fired Buck Showalter in 2001 and directed the team to a
dramatic World Series triumph over the New York Yankees.

He was the first to win a World Series in his first season as a
major league manager since Ralph Houk of the Yankees in 1961.

The Diamondbacks, led by the powerhouse pitching duo of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, won the NL West title in 2002, but
faltered in an injury-plagued 2003 season and failed to make the
playoffs. This year, with Schilling dealt to Boston, the
Diamondbacks again experienced an avalanche of injuries, the most
damaging a season-ending torn shoulder ligament to slugger Richie
Sexson.

"This is never an easy decision to make, particularly with
someone as well-liked and respected as Bob," said Jerry Colangelo,
the team's chairman and chief executive.

Brenly compiled a 303-262 record in 3½ seasons, but the team was
29-50 going into Friday night's interleague game against the
Minnesota Twins, 15 games behind division-leading San Francisco.

Colangelo said a month ago that Brenly would remain through the
season, the final year of his contract, "unless the bottom falls
out." That apparently happened when the team went through a
mistake-filled, club-record 11-game losing streak. The skid ended
Wednesday night, and Arizona won its second in a row over San Diego
7-5 on Thursday night, but Brenly's fate had been sealed.

A paid crowd of 22,631, smallest in franchise history, watched
Thursday night's game.

Colangelo said earlier this week that he would meet with general
manager Joe Garagiola Jr. and other members of the front office to
discuss Brenly's fate and other matters, such as what players might
be traded to contenders to add more young prospects to the roster.

The Diamondbacks have had 16 players on the disabled list this
season, most in the majors. That has led the team to field lineups
with the likes of Chad Tracy, Scott Hairston and Tim Olson, all of
whom began the season in the minors.

The bullpen was decimated by injuries and ineffective even when
the main pitchers were healthy.

"We are all disappointed and distressed at the direction our
club has taken this year, and several key injuries have factored
into our record," Colangelo said in a statement. "The blame does
not solely fall on Bob's shoulders, as we have failed in many
facets on the field and in the clubhouse.

"However, with disappointments come change and our ownership
group and management feel that now is the time to relieve Bob of
his duties as manager."

The team was prone to mistakes, including recent instances of
missed bunt signs and costly errors. The Diamondbacks committed
four errors on Wednesday night. After the team played an error-free
game on Thursday, Brenly smiled and proclaimed "No errors! We get
pizza!"

Then he walked out the interview room door. They were his last
comments to the media as Diamondbacks' manager. He sent word
through the organization that he would have no public comments
Friday.

Pedrique, 43, was born in Venezuela, and his ability to speak Spanish
and English also will help, said Arizona outfielder Luis Gonzalez,
who also is bilingual.

Pedrique said he hopes he has learned well from three of his
major league managers -- Jim Leyland, Davey Johnson and Sparky
Anderson.

"I like to be aggressive," Pedrique said. "I believe in
playing solid defense, solid fundamental baseball. Any time you do
that, you put yourself in a good situation to win games.

"So that's going to be our main focus for the team the rest of
the season -- play solid defense and do the little things right."