Friday, former Padres manager Bruce Bochy signed on to steer the ship of the San Francisco Gigantes. Today, he’s headed to Japan to manage MLB’s All-Star team, which is touring the Land of the Rising Sun. But the sun also rises in San Diego. Now that Bochy has been pushed, pulled or shoved out of San Diego, the next order of business finding someone to steer the Padres back to another NL West championship.

The organization stated recently they’d like to fill the position within two or three weeks. So the Padres would like to have someone in place by the general managers meetings Nov. 13-17 in Naples, Fla. Makes sense: It’s hard to attract free agents without a manager, and the GM meetings mark the unofficial beginning of the offseason free agent signing period. So let’s get this done.

First option: Angels pitching coach Harry Ralston “Bud” Black. His name comes up with almost every managers opening the past few years, especially after winning the 2002 World Series with Anaheim. The 49-year-old Black pitched 15 years in the Big Leagues (Seattle, Kansas City, San Francisco, Cleveland and Toronto), going 121-116 with a 3.84 ERA. He spent two years at San Diego State (1978-79) as a teammate of Tony Gwynn before earning his degree in finance, so he has S.D. connections.

Black is known for his statistical analysis, a huge plus for the original “Moneyball” guy and Padres CEO Sandy Alderson. Billy Beane – an Alderson disciple – wants to interview Black too for the A’s managerial opening. A lot of people give Black the best chance to take over the Padres on-field operations, but he doesn’t have any managerial experience And he’s turned down opportunities before due to family considerations. All-in-all, Black seems like a good choice, but we’ll be going over the other possibilities all week.

Chargers: L.T. busts out for 240 total yards and three touchdowns. Philip Rivers threw for 206 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. And the marked man Shawne Merriman went absolutely nuts, managing five tackles and a career-high three sacks en route to a 38-24 win over the Rams Sunday. With a Denver loss, the Chargers pulled into a tie for first in the AFC West.

– CHRIS NIXON

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