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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Darren Balsley used positivity as coach in bigs with Padres

Darren Balsley 1990 St. Catharines Blue Jays card
San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy had nothing but praise for his pitching coach Darren Balsley in 2006, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Peavy knew Balsley as Balsley had also coached Peavy in the minors, The Union-Tribune noted.

"He is very positive," Peavy told The Union-Tribune of Balsley in September 2006. "He says the right thing. First and foremost, he's positive. That's the biggest thing. He puts positive thoughts in your head and makes you more self-confident."

Balsley has now been instilling that self-confidence in Padres pitchers for a decade, taking over the position in mid-2003. 

And he's been doing that after a long career as a coach in the minors, and a six-season career as a pitcher in the minors.

Balsley's career in baseball began in 1984, taken by the Athletics in the third round of the January draft, out of Palomar College in San Diego County, Calif.

As a player, Balsley spent three seasons in the Athletics system, playing the final season at single-A Modesto. For 1987, Balsley moved to the Blue Jays system, playing 1988 and 1989 at AA Knoxville, ending his playing career.

Balsley turned coach in 1990, staying with the Blue Jays, assigned to short-season St. Catharines. He then remained in the Blue Jays system as a coach through 1999, ending as a coach at Knoxville.

For 2000, Balsley moved to the Padres system, serving as pitching coach at single-A Fort Wayne. In 2003, Balsley was pitching coach at AA Mobile when San Diego came calling.

Balsley served with the Padres in San Diego, first under manager Bruce Bochy, then under Bud Black. And he continues in that role for 2013.

In 2010, it was Black who was praising Balsley, praising him to Sports Illustrated.

"He's able to keep pitchers going confidently when they are pitching well," Black told SI. "And if a guy needs a tweak, he's able to do that, too. He's able to iron things out."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,275
Made the Majors: 704 - 55.2%-X
Never Made Majors: 571-44.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 303-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 180

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