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Padres move quickly to bring back Balsley

Pitching coach has been with organization since 2000 season

SAN DIEGO -- There has been ample opportunity for Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley to take a job elsewhere -- in the past and certainly this offseason.

But Balsley, who has been with the organization since 2000 and has served as the pitching coach since '03, there's no place -- pardon the pun -- like home.

"I grew up a Padre fan. I wasn't born in San Diego, but I was raised in San Diego ... and the Padres were always my club," Balsley said. "I can't personally think of a better job. My alliance is to the team.

"There were a lot of opportunities to go elsewhere, but I let it be known to [general manager A.J. Preller] that this is where I wanted to stay."

Passionate Balsley brings out best in Padres pitchers

The contracts of the existing coaches on the Padres' staff expired Saturday, but Balsley was not out of work long. He has agreed to a contract for 2016 after meeting during the weekend with new manager Andy Green. The club has not confirmed.

Retaining Balsley, 51, who is regarded as one of the top pitching coaches in the big leagues, is an important move for Green.

"We have unfinished business. I don't plan on leaving any time soon. I think we're closer than a lot of people think we are," Balsley told on Sunday during a plane change as he flew from San Diego to his home in Knoxville, Tenn.

"It burns me a little that we haven't won a championship."

The team hasn't officially announced the contract status of the coaches, though Green said at his introductory press conference Thursday that his first order of business was talking to the existing coaches on the staff.

Video: Andy Green named new Padres manager

Assistant hitting coach Alonzo Powell, first-base coach Jose Valentin, bullpen coach Willie Blair, bench coach Dave Roberts and third-base coach Glenn Hoffman are without contracts. Some could join former Padres manager Bud Black with the Nationals, while others could return to San Diego.

Balsley, who graduated from Mount Carmel High and Palomar College, met with Green on Saturday in San Diego and felt comfortable early with the new manager.

"It was great. After talking with him for a half hour or so, it was like I had known him for a long time," Balsley said. "He wants to win ... he's familiar with our ballclub. He thinks we have the pieces we can win with."

The Padres, who finished 74-88 this past season, were 10th in the National League in ERA (4.09), as well as 13th out of 15 teams among bullpen ERA (4.02). The 4.09 mark was their highest collective ERA since 2009 (4.37).

"It was tough. We're usually known for our pitching, especially in the bullpen. We have had mediocre years before [as a team], but we've still usually pitched well," Balsley said.

The Padres lost No. 5 starter Brandon Morrow after five outings because of a right shoulder injury that later required surgery. Two key performers in the bullpen -- Shawn Kelley and Brandon Maurer -- missed time with various injuries. Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy had a disabled-list stint as well.

Injuries aside, consistency was hard to come by -- for pitchers and hitters alike.

"I'm expecting us to get back to that next year," Balsley said. "I think it was a blip on the radar. We didn't pitch up to our expectations. They could get better ... I can get better."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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