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NEW PADRES SKIPPER SAYS GOAL IS JUST TO IMPROVE

SHARE NEW PADRES SKIPPER SAYS GOAL IS JUST TO IMPROVE

New San Diego Padres manager Greg Riddoch says his plans for the struggling team will not include an immediate attempt to catch the division-leading Cincinnati Reds.

"If we're going to set a short-term goal, then we better look at the team that's right in front of us (in the standings) because that's the one we have a better chance of catching at the moment," Riddoch said. "Once we reach that point we can readjust our sights and shoot for the next team.""It would be very unrealistic to think we can catch the Reds at this point in the year with the type of team that they have."

Riddoch, 44, a bench coach in his fourth season with San Diego, will manage in the major leagues for the first time. He succeeds Jack McKeon, who stepped down Wednesday as manager to work solely as the Padres' vice president of baseball operations.

"I just felt two jobs was too much. I was really getting burdened. I didn't have the time to devote to both jobs. I was cheating the organization and I was cheating myself," McKeon said.

"Now I can go out and analyze the situation and try to get Greg some better players. I still think we have the nucleus to have an outstanding ballclub here in the future, and we're going to work to try to fill the holes in the very near future."

The move comes at a time when San Diego is struggling. The Padres have a 37-43 record and lost 12 of their 15 games before the All-Star break. They start the second half of the season today at Pittsburgh in fourth place in the NL West, 13 1/2 games behind the Reds.