Former Cubs manager Baker to interview with Padres

Updated: November 3, 2006, 1:36 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Dusty Baker will interview for the San Diego Padres' vacant manager's job Monday, general manager Kevin Towers said Wednesday night.

Baker, who has managed the Giants and Cubs, will be the first former manager to interview for the job vacated when Bruce Bochy took a more secure deal with the Giants after 12 seasons as the Padres' manager.

"It just happened," Baker said in a phone interview Thursday night. "You've just got to play it out and see how it comes out. It's a good organization and a good team in a very good city. I think it's a great opportunity. It all depends what everybody wants and it all depends what the motto for the organization is."

Baker's contract was not renewed after four seasons with the Cubs, who finished 66-96 this season -- the worst record in the National League. He managed the Giants from 1993-2002.

The Padres have won back-to-back NL West titles, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs the past two seasons.

"This would be the best team I've inherited from the beginning," Baker said. "I took over the Giants after they had a losing season and I took over the Cubs after they had a losing season."

The Padres interviewed Angels pitching coach Bud Black on Wednesday. Black, who lives in the area and pitched at San Diego State, is considered one of the leading candidates.

St. Louis Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo interviewed Tuesday and Trey Hillman, manager of the Japanese team Nippon Ham Fighters, on Thursday. Giants bench coach Ron Wotus was set to interview Friday and former Dodgers hitting coach Tim Wallach on Saturday.

Hillman's interview with the Padres was so impressive that he is expected to meet in Japan with San Diego owner John Moores and CEO Sandy Alderson, who are accompanying a major league All-Star team, said a baseball source who spoke on condition of anonymity. Hillman, who also interviewed with Texas and Oakland for their managerial vacancies, is scheduled to return to Japan on Friday. He'll manage a Japanese team in a forthcoming Asian series.

Baker has been spending time back in the Bay Area getting work done around his house that he didn't have time for during his tenure in Chicago. While he would be thrilled if things work out in San Diego, he plans to take whatever happens in stride.

"I know what I'd like to do," he said. "I've had more options on the TV and radio side than the baseball side. No matter what, it's all good."

Of his work for ESPN during the World Series, Baker said: "It was fun. I had a great time and they taught me a lot. I was a rookie and didn't know what to do."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press