Rockies officially announce Bud Black as manager

November 7, 2016
Newly-named Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black pulls on his new jersey as general manager Jeff Bridich, left, looks on during a news conference to introduce him as the new skipper on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, in Denver. Black succeeds Walt Weiss, who left after four seasons as manager at the conclusion of the regular season. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Bud Black really has no radical or revolutionary ideas about how to reliably pitch in the thin air at Coors Field.

Just an age-old concept.

“You know what works here— good pitching and making pitches and getting outs,” Black said Monday after being introduced as the manager of the Colorado Rockies. “That’s what we have to do. I don’t think we have to change anybody. We’ve got to make guys better. And these guys are pretty good to start with.”

Black signed a three-year deal to take over for Walt Weiss, who stepped down last month when his contract expired after four years in charge of the Rockies. They finished 75-87 last season, their best record since 2010.

The 59-year-old Black is revered for his pitching acumen. Understandably, he views the game through a pitcher’s eyes and knows this park is filled with difficulties for a staff.

“It’s just a different game here than other spots,” Black said. “But it’s still baseball.”

Black knows this park well after serving as manager of NL West rival San Diego for 8 ½ seasons before being fired in June 2015. He compiled a 649-713 record for the Padres and was voted NL Manager of the Year in 2010.

With the Rockies, Black inherits a potent offense that includes a batting champion in DJ LeMahieu, sluggers Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez and rising star Trevor Story.

Not that he’s going to offer them much advice. He’s going to stick with what he knows best — pitching.

After a major league career that spanned 15 seasons on the mound, Black became a respected pitching coach for the Los Angeles Angels. He brings a wealth of experience to a team that’s long struggled to get outs in Denver, which is a mile above sea level.

Colorado as a team had a 4.91 ERA this past season, tied with Cincinnati for 13th out of 15 National League teams. Arizona (5.09) was the only club that was worse. But the Rockies feature a young but talented rotation led by Jon Gray.

The first order of business will be shoring up a bullpen that blew 28 saves last season.

Then there’s learning how to consistently win.

“There’s a difference between talented and good. We have talent,” Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said. “The next step is to become a good team — a good and consistent team.”

Bridich interviewed quite a few internal and external candidates before tabbing Black as the seventh manager in franchise history.

Owner Dick Monfort made a list of eight or nine qualities he wanted to see his next manager embody, only he didn’t get around to sharing it with Bridich.

“I went down that list and checked a lot of them off (with Black),” Monfort said. “He understands how to play games here.

“I’ve always watched him manage at San Diego. He seems to be a tough guy. He understands the game, obviously has a lot of experience. I think that fits well.”

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