Black returns to San Diego with NL West-leading Rockies

SAN DIEGO (AP) Bud Black is back in San Diego, and with a first-place ballsquad, no less.

Now the manager of the Colorado Rockies, Black returned to Petco Park on Tuesday for the first time since he was fired as manager of the Padres on June 15, 2015.

Black spent part of the day at his alma mater, San Diego State, before heading to Petco Park for the opener of a three-game series.

In his 8 seasons managing the Padres, he never had a reason to go to the visitors' clubhouse or dugout.

''And over the years, I wasn't that curious,'' said Black, in his first season with Colorado.

''I've never been here. It's all right. It's OK,'' he told a large media throng in the visitors' dugout. ''Solid. The builders at Petco did a nice job on the visitors' side.''

Black, a former big league pitcher, was 649-713 with the Padres.

''This is new for me, first time, obviously, back here,'' he said. ''But driving down today there was a different sensation coming to this park. Once I got here, I felt comfortable, saw a number of people that I've crossed paths with, in the corridor, around the ballpark, grounds crews guys. That was cool.''

Black, who lives in the offseason in Rancho Santa Fe in northern San Diego County, knew not to get too nostalgic.

''I do know at 7, 7:05, there's going to be a ballgame,'' he said. ''It's going to be a little different on this side. As I've said before, I think those of us in uniform become hardened to some of these things.''

The Rockies came into the game leading the NL West, a half-game ahead of Arizona.

The Padres had only two winning seasons under Black. They finished 89-74 in his first season, 2007, after losing a wild-card tiebreaker game in 13 innings at Colorado. Many Padres fans still contend that Matt Holliday never touched home plate on the play that gave the Rockies a 9-8 win and helped them on the road to their first World Series appearance.

The Padres finished 90-72 in 2010. They had the NL's best record in late August before a 10-game losing streak staggered them and they missed the playoffs.

San Diego was 32-33 when it fired Black in 2015.

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Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/berniewilson

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