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Green on new role: 'It's not going to be business as usual'

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

I love people who are passionate about what they are doing.

I sensed more than once during his introductory press conference Thursday that new Padres manager Andy Green is passionate about a number of things -- okay, about almost everything he touches.

Yes, Ron Gardenhire might have been the more logical -- certainly the safer -- choice as the Padres next manager. Gardenhire is far more experienced than Green. And Gardenhire has a positive track record in a market similar to San Diego. Gardenhire made a lot of sense.

But when it came time to pick the Padres' 17th manager, A.J. Preller opted for Andy Green, a spare part as a player with one year of Major League coaching experience.

What tipped the scales?

Andy Green himself.

The Andy Green who met with the media Thursday. The Andy Green who will spend all Friday on the phone introducing himself to Padres players, coaches and personnel. The Andy Green who lit up the room Thursday afternoon.

Yes, the 38-year-old Green is short on experience. But the man oozes passion for baseball and his new role as field boss of the Padres.

The will to learn and lead was certainly apparent Thursday. It quickly became easy to see what Preller saw in Green. Andy Green is a man open to outside ideas with a Passion -- yes, the capital P is mine -- to move forward.

I underlined one thing Preller said toward the end of his comments.

"I was looking for someone I could partner with, to share ideas with," Preller said of his search for a manager. "Andy is knowledgeable, prepared and has a ton of energy."

A ton? There I think Preller might have short-changed Green. The manager's aura is energy. Certainly, Preller thought outside the box in making what will be looked back upon as one of the more important decisions of his reign as Padres general manager.

Like Preller said of the process: "I had no real history with Andy."

Truthfully, Preller was far from alone. As a Major League player, Green was an infielder who had 265 career plate appearances with the Mets and Diamondbacks over parts of four seasons. As Green pointed out Thursday, he had to go 1-for-4 in his final Major League game with the Mets to get his career batting average back to exactly .200.

"I was a Mendoza-line player," he said.

Green spent most of his playing career in the minor leagues with a 2007 detour to Japan. He was the Most Valuable Player of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2005, when he hit .343 with 19 homers and 80 RBIs for Tucson and led the PCL in hits, runs and total bases.

Andy Green was not exactly a hot ticket as his playing career wound down. He wrote letters to all 30 Major League teams seeking employment as a coach or a Minor League manager.

As we know, being named the Double-A Manager of the Year in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014 -- the first man to accomplish that honor -- served as the springboard for Green being named third base coach for Arizona this past season.

There's the history. And Green says he's not much for history.

"I never marked my path," Green said Thursday. "I enjoy being in the moment, engaging the future."

And Green's future is now the Padres' future. Green did not start out as the Padres leading candidate. But in 20 hours of interviews, Green won Preller and the GM's staff over.

"He came in and showed us he was the right man for the job," Preller said of Green, who was one of the first people the Padres talked to in their managerial search. "He answered many of our questions before we had a chance to ask them."

"I wanted to share what was inside me," said Green.

One thing Green did not talk about Thursday were the players he's inherited. 

"It's wise to get to know them before I comment on them," said Green.

We don't know exactly what the future holds.

"But it's not going to be business as usual," said Andy Green.

Certainly, his selection wasn't.

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