Leyland signs two-year extension
DETROIT -- Jim Leyland will be sticking around in the Detroit dugout for awhile.
The Tigers gave their manager a two-year contract extension Friday through the 2011 season. Financial terms were not announced.
"It's extremely well deserved," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said.
The 64-year-old Leyland is in his fourth season with the Tigers, and this was the last year on his deal. Detroit was leading the AL Central with a 35-31 record going into Friday night's game against Milwaukee.
"I'm thrilled they want me to continue," the three-time manager of the year said. "I was thrilled they asked me to come here in the first place."
The Tigers went a disappointing 74-88 last year, and Leyland wasn't offered an extension after the season.
On Friday, Leyland was stretched on a couch that folds out into a bed in his office at Comerica Park, smoking a cigarette and having a cup of coffee, when he got the good news.
"I was totally shocked," he said.
Leyland spent the night in his office after the Tigers got in late Thursday night from a three-game series at St. Louis. He lives in a Detroit hotel during the season.
Dombrowski usually travels with the team, but hasn't been on the last three trips because he was watching the Tigers' minor leaguers. He came down to Leyland's office in the morning and, after they discussed a few things, offered Leyland the extension.
"I just think it was the right time to step forward and get this done," Dombrowski said.
Leyland had a 292-260 record with the Tigers going into Friday night's game. He guided Detroit to a surprising AL pennant in 2006 and was voted AL Manager of the Year.
But after going 95-67 to reach the World Series, the Tigers dipped to 88-74 in 2007 and tumbled last year.
Leyland managed 14 years in the majors before coming to Detroit. He led the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1986-96, the Florida Marlins in 1997-98 (winning the World Series in '97) and the Colorado Rockies in 1999.
He was the NL Manager of the Year in 1990 and 1992.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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