SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres have fired Jayce Tingler, who presided over the biggest collapse in franchise history just a season after finishing second in voting for NL Manager of the Year.

General Manager A.J. Preller announced the move Wednesday, three days after the Padres finished 79-83 and in third place in the NL West, 28 games behind San Francisco. Preller said Tingler will be given the opportunity to remain in the organization.

Tingler’s fate was sealed during a brutal freefall that saw the Padres go from a one-game lead for the NL’s second wild-card spot on Sept. 9 to being eliminated from playoff contention with seven games left. The Padres clinched their 10th losing record in 11 seasons.

Tingler was 116-106 overall in two seasons.

Tingler had no previous managerial experience above rookie-level ball and stints in various Dominican leagues before being hired on Oct. 28, 2019, by Preller, a friend from their time together in the Texas Rangers’ organization.

Tingler guided the Padres to a 37-23 record in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and their first playoff appearance in 13 years. They beat the St. Louis Cardinals in a wild-card series before being swept in the division series by the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Led by superstars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, and with a payroll of $175 million, the Padres entered this season with World Series aspirations and played with swagger until a number of problems surfaced during the second half, on the field and in the clubhouse.

Although Tatis remains one of the frontrunners for NL MVP, he was bothered by a recurring left shoulder injury and was even moved to the outfield for a time in an attempt to lessen his exposure to injury.

The Padres failed to land a starting pitcher at the trade deadline and then saw their rotation decimated by injuries to Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Chris Paddack, with no depth available to fill in.

There were reports that some players were unhappy that the Padres tried to trade first baseman Eric Hosmer at the deadline. Later, reports surfaced that some players had gone to Preller to voice their displeasure with the job Tingler was doing.

In a stunning dugout dustup on Sept. 18, Machado cursed and yelled at Tatis and had to be separated by teammates and a coach. The spat came after Tatis struck out looking and then argued the call by umpire Phil Cuzzi. Tingler had been ejected when he came out to argue on Tatis’ behalf and wasn’t in the dugout when the superstars clashed.

Tingler is the fourth manager Preller has fired in his seven-plus seasons. He fired veteran skipper Bud Black in June 2015 and replaced him with interim manager Pat Murphy, who was not retained. Preller then hired relatively unknown Andy Green, who had no big league managerial experience, although he had been third-base coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks for one season after managing for four seasons in their farm system.

Green was fired with eight games left in the 2019 season after the team collapsed in the second half. He was 274-366 overall.

INDIANS: Manager Terry Francona is confident he’ll return next season after missing most of the past two because of serious health issues.

Francona was forced to step away from the club in late July to undergo hip replacement surgery as well as a procedure on a big toe that was partially removed last winter after it became infected.

The 62-year-old remains on crutches and has a medical checkup scheduled for next week.

“That’s a big appointment by the doctor’s own admission,” Francona said on a Zoom call. “We get through that day and should be OK. Barring anything unforeseen, I’d really like to come back and be healthy enough to embrace what the job entails.”

Francona said “everything was hard” in 2021 before he stepped away. He was fitted with several walking boots during the season and acknowledged the inability to move around like he needed wore him down physically and emotionally.

A two-time World Series winner with Boston, Francona has spent nine seasons with the Indians. He was sidelined for the majority of the abbreviated 2020 season with a gastrointestinal issue that led to him being hospitalized with blood clotting issues.

Francona has 723 wins with Cleveland. He is five away from tying Lou Boudreau for the club record.

WHITE SOX-ASTROS: Lance Lynn will start for the Chicago White Sox in Game 1 of the AL Division Series against the Houston Astros on Thursday.

Manager Tony La Russa announced the decision, adding Lucas Giolito would start Game 2. Houston will start Lance McCullers on Thursday and is going with left-hander Framber Valdez in Game 2.

Also Wednesday, the White Sox said first baseman Jose Abreu was feeling better after dealing with flu-like symptoms and that he would fly to Houston Wednesday night. Abreu had multiple tests that confirmed his illness wasn’t COVID-19.

La Russa wasn’t sure if Abreu would be ready for Game 1 but said he was “certain” he’d return for Friday’s game.

GIANTS: Logan Webb will start for the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of their NL Division Series on Friday night against the Cardinals or Dodgers.

METS: Theo Epstein will not be coming to the Mets.

A source familiar with the situation said Mets owner Steve Cohen and Epstein spoke and had a good conversation on Wednesday. But both agreed joining the Mets’ front office was not the right opportunity for Epstein.

Cohen and Epstein realized pretty quickly — on a Zoom call that was more friendly chat than job interview — that this wouldn’t work out, according to a source.

They never discussed any potential roles for Epstein, though the club would’ve preferred for the exec to take over its baseball operations.

VACCINE: Major League Baseball is finalizing a policy that will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for minor league players for the 2022 season.

While the league could face legal challenges in requiring vaccination for major leaguers without the cooperation of the players association, minor leaguers are not included in the big league union. It’s expected that minor leaguers will have to be inoculated before arriving for spring training.

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