Jones filling in for ill Akerfelds

Jones filling in for ill Akerfelds

Jones filling in for ill Akerfelds
SAN DIEGO -- Jimmy Jones, the pitching coach for the Padres' Double-A affiliate in San Antonio, joined the Major League team on Wednesday to fill in for bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who has been battling pancreatic cancer.

Jones is in his fourth season as a pitching coach in the Padres' organization. The Padres selected him third overall in the 1982 Draft and he pitched for eight Major League seasons.

Jones will fill in for Akerfelds, who has been away from the team for most of the season. Akerfelds was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2010.

"We hoped this day wouldn't come where we had to bring somebody for Ak, but where Ak is right now, it just makes sense to bring Jimmy here to help with [pitching coach] Darren [Balsley], to help [bullpen catcher Justin Hatcher] as we move through the rest of the year," Padres manager Bud Black said.

"With the influx of new pitchers on the roster and potentially more guys as the season goes, Jimmy has been with these guys a lot in the Minor Leagues. It's another set of eyes who have seen our players and another set of pitching eyes to help Darren, just like Ak and Darren have worked together over the last 10 years."

Black spoke to Akerfelds last week.

"He's been battling this head-on with a great deal of will, determination, character, fight," Black said.