Angels pitching coach meets with Padres owner, CEO

SAN DIEGO -- Bud Black met Tuesday with Padres owner John Moores and CEO Sandy Alderson, perhaps a sign the Los Angeles Angels' pitching coach is a finalist for San Diego's vacant managerial job.

"It went well," Alderson said Tuesday evening. "It was a good conversation."

Black's meeting with Moores and Alderson was a follow-up to an interview last week with general manager Kevin Towers and other front-office officials.

"Hopefully, we're getting toward the end of our process here," Alderson said.

Black, who lives just north of San Diego, has been the Angels' pitching coach for the last seven seasons. He played at San Diego State with Tony Gwynn and pitched in the big leagues for 15 seasons, helping the Kansas City Royals win the 1985 World Series.

Alderson also had dinner Monday night with Dusty Baker, who interviewed with Towers earlier in the day.

Baker formerly managed the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants. His contract was not renewed last month after four years managing the Cubs.

A few days earlier, Moores and Alderson met in Japan with another candidate, Trey Hillman.

Hillman interviewed with Towers last week and then returned to Japan, where he manages the Nippon Ham Fighters and will lead a Japanese club in a forthcoming Asian series. Moores and Alderson were in Japan with a major-league all-star team.

Alderson said he didn't want to label any of the candidates as finalists to replace Bruce Bochy, who managed the Padres to consecutive NL West titles for the first time in club history. Bochy had a year left on his Padres contract but accepted a three-year deal with San Francisco late last month.

"I'm not sure it makes sense to talk about finalists versus also-rans at this point," Alderson said. "We haven't eliminated any of the candidates. It may be that we never get to the point of formally identifying finalists."

Alderson said he didn't have plans to meet with any of the other candidates, "but that could change in the morning."

The other three who interviewed with Towers were Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo, former Dodgers hitting coach Tim Wallach and Giants bench coach Ron Wotus.

Also Tuesday, Alderson exercised Towers' option for 2008. The Padres have won four division titles in Towers' 11 seasons and reached the World Series in 1998.

"He's been instrumental to our success over the last two years," said Alderson, hired in May 2005. "I've enjoyed working with him. He's demonstrated a variety of skills and obviously has a tremendous range of experience."