Black meets behind closed doors with MLB-worst Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Manager Bud Black met behind closed doors with his San Diego Padres on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after general manager Kevin Towers made some scathing comments about the worst team in the majors.

Black wouldn't discuss specifics, but based on his congenial nature, it's probably safe to say it was a lot more positive than some of Towers' biting comments.

"We're bad, no question about it," Towers told reporters after the Padres lost 8-2 to Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night to drop to 16-30. Towers threatened wholesale changes, saying, "I'm certainly not going to watch this for four more months."

"I wanted to address a few things," Black said. "We're a baseball team. I wanted to address some baseball stuff."

Asked his reaction to Towers' comments, Black said: "Well, like all of us, players included, me, staff, K.T., frustration.

"The guys are taking it hard. Absolutely," Black said. "The players realize we have to play better baseball. We've played 46 games, not to the expectation level that we thought we would be after this amount of games. We have to play better."

Right fielder Brian Giles said Black's meeting "was good."

Towers is mostly unhappy with the team's anemic offense and some baserunning lapses.

"As a player, you can't worry about those things, you've got to go out and play," said Giles, one of the few position players who's producing. "It's been a tough stretch. Realistically we don't know how much we can do offensively because we haven't had the five or six guys at one time swinging the bats. It's been hard to get a read on our offense and there's been a lot of frustration."

Reliever Heath Bell said Black's message was positive, to keep playing hard and not get caught up in outside distractions.

"I know we're out there trying to give everything we have and trying our darndest," Bell said. "Overall, I think it's frustrating because we're not that bad of a team. We're a lot better team than 16-30, a lot better team. It just hasn't shown. It's frustrating."

Towers also touched on morale.

"I hear morale is good in the clubhouse, but I can't believe that," Towers said. "If morale is good, we have major issues. Morale should be horrible right now. I know it's horrible in that coaching office and horrible upstairs."

Giles shrugged off those comments.

"I know I prepare myself to play every day, and hopefully that energy feeds off on other people. But other that I can't speak for everybody else," Giles said.

Bell said it was "disappointing" to hear Towers' comments, "because I know we're out there trying. We're not getting it done, per se, and it's like your boss getting mad at you, or like your dad getting mad at you."

After winning the NL West in 2005 and 2006, the Padres fell one win short of going back to the playoffs for a third straight year.

"We want to win for San Diego," Bell said. "We won last year and almost got there and this year we knew we had a couple new guys but the core was the same and we thought we could get over that hump. I know it's frustrating for me and it's got to be frustrating for the other guys, too."