Longtime Padres coach Akerfelds dies of cancer

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SAN DIEGO (AP) -- San Diego Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who pitched for five seasons in the major leagues, died Sunday pancreatic cancer. He was 50.

Akerfelds had been bullpen coach for San Diego since June 2001.

"Ak was an invaluable member of the Padres coaching staff," manager Bud Black said. "He was a loyal Padre to the end. Players and coaches were made better by Ack. He will be sorely missed."

He was diagnosed with cancer in December 2010. Last season, Akerfelds attended 148 of the 162, games despite undergoing chemotherapy. He was still with the team in the early part of the season before he finally stopped coming to the ballpark.

A Denver native, Akerfelds played professional baseball for 12 seasons and appeared in 125 major league games. He was 9-10 with 5.08 ERA pitching for Oakland, Cleveland, Texas and Philadelphia.

Akerfelds was a seventh-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1983.

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