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Padres hire Niebla as pitching coach before landing manager

Ramon Chavez Torres watches San Diego Padres players taking batting practice at Petco Park on June 24, 2020.
Matt Hoffman
/
KPBS
Ramon Chavez Torres watches San Diego Padres players taking batting practice at Petco Park on June 24, 2020.

The San Diego Padres have hired Ruben Niebla from Cleveland as their pitching coach.

General manager A.J. Preller hired Niebla on Wednesday even though he has yet to hire a replacement for manager Jayce Tingler, who was fired Oct. 6. Tingler took the fall for the Padres' brutal second-half collapse, which saw them plummet from a solid grip on the NL's second wild-card spot to finishing with a losing record for the 10th time in 11 seasons.

Niebla, 49, has been Cleveland's assistant pitching coach for the last two seasons. Before that, he spent seven seasons as the Guardians' minor league pitching coordinator.

He is widely credited with helping to develop starters such as Shane Bieber, Corey Kluber, Mike Clevinger — who's now with San Diego — Trevor Bauer, Triston McKenzie, Aaron Civale, James Karinchak and Zach Plesac. Clevinger was traded to San Diego in 2020 and spent this season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Niebla is returning to Southern California. He was born in Calexico and lives in El Centro, both in neighboring Imperial County. His daughter, Jaelyn, attends San Diego State.

The Padres fired pitching coach Larry Rothschild on Aug. 23 and replaced him with bullpen coach Ben Fritz.

The Padres beefed up their rotation last offseason, only to watch several starters struggle to go deep in games. Additionally, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Chris Paddack ended the season on the injured list.

Joe Musgrove, who threw the first no-hitter in franchise history on April 9, was the only member of the rotation to make every start.