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Monday, July 24
Blue Jays name Dave Stewart pitching coach

TORONTO (Ticker) -- Maybe Dave Stewart just isn't the front office type.

The Toronto Blue Jays today announced that Stewart, a four-time 20-game winner during his illustrious career, has moved from his position as assistant general manager and director of player personnel to become the club's pitching coach.

Stewart, 43, left San Diego after the 1998 season to gain some front office experience with Toronto after helping several members of the Padres' staff reach their full potential en route to the World Series. He replaces Rick Langford, who will become pitching coach of the Blue Jays' Class AA affiliate in Knoxville of the Southern League.

Known as an intense competitor throughout his 15 years in the majors, Stewart, nicknamed "Smoke," was a member of three world championship teams, including the 1993 Blue Jays.

He finished with a 168-129 career mark and was unbeatable in the American League Championship Series, going 8-0 in 10 starts. He was 2-4 in the World Series.

Stewart will take over a staff fronted by AL wins leader David Wells, but perilously thin thereafter. The surprising contribution of Frank Castillo (7-5) has helped offset the shortcomings of starters Chris Carpenter (7-9, 6.64 ERA), Roy Halladay (4-6, 11.05) and Kelvim Escobar (7-9, 4.90).

Recently acquired righthander Esteban Loaiza was rocked for six runs and nine hits over five innings in his Blue Jays' debut on Saturday against Baltimore.

While Stewart gained great notoriety for his success in San Diego in 1998, he also seemed at odds with manager Bruce Bochy's decisions during the postseason, causing a rift between the two.

He was originally hired as an assistant to Padres' GM Kevin Towers in 1997, but moved from the front office to the clubhouse the next year.

Toronto is just 1 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the American League East.

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