Padres hire Doug Bochtler as bullpen coach

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A familiar face is back with the Padres, as Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the team has hired Doug Bochtler as bullpen coach.

Bochtler pitched six seasons in the majors, including three with the Padres. Originally drafted by the Expos, he was part of the trade which brought Andy Ashby and Brad Ausmus to the Padres in 1993 and later served as a set-up man on the 1996 team that won the NL West. A big part of his legacy is that he showed his changeup grip to Trevor Hoffman while they were in the minors. That worked out pretty well.

Bochtler has spent the last five seasons as a pitching coach in the Diamondbacks’ minor league system. He joins the staff of Andy Green, who was recently hired as the Padres new manager after also working for Arizona.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.