DETROIT (AP) – After turning around the Detroit Tigers during his first five seasons, Dave Dombrowski was given a four-year contract extension on Thursday that runs through 2011.

Dombrowski, the team’s general manager, president and chief executive officer, helped lead the team this year to its first playoff appearance since 1984.

“Dave is a great leader and a great “baseball guy’ who is bright, hardworking and committed to success,” owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement. “He is clearly the top executive in baseball today and unmatched in terms of his ability to oversee this club both on and off the field.

“I am confident that we will continue to make the same great strides in the years ahead that we did this season under his strong leadership.”

Through savvy trades and signings along with sound drafts, Dombrowski helped the Tigers build a team good enough to reach the World Series for the first time since 1984 and to end a streak of 12 straight losing seasons. Detroit lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in five games, three years after setting an AL record with 119 losses.

Just five of the 25 players on Detroit’s playoff roster were a part of the franchise before Dombrowski arrived.

Dombrowski was hired away from the Florida Marlins, where he helped the expansion team win a World Series, on Nov. 5, 2001, and he assumed general manager duties the following April.

“I am very happy that we have been able to agree to a contract extension,” Dombrowski said in a statement. “Mr. Ilitch has been great to me and I look forward to being in Detroit for years to come.”

Dombrowski’s career began in 1978 with the Chicago White Sox, working as an administrative assistant in their minor league and scouting departments. He was hired to lead the Montreal Expos 10 years later when he was just 31. Dombrowski became the Marlins’ first executive vice president and general manager in 1991.

Detroit also extended the contracts of vice presidents Al Avila, David Chadd, Scott Reid and John Westhoff; minor league operations director Dan Lunetta; player development director Glenn Ezell; and major league scouts Scott Bream, Dick Egan, Al Hargesheimer, Mike Russell and Greg Smith. The Tigers did not say how long their extensions were for or when their new deals end.

AP-ES-11-02-06 1447EST

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