Padres coach Darrel Akerfelds dies

Updated: June 24, 2012, 10:39 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who pitched for five seasons in the major leagues, died Sunday of 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 Ak. He will be sorely missed."

Akerfelds 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.

"Been an unreal sad day thanks for all the prayer & support regarding Darrell Akerfelds!" former Padres pitcher Jake Peavy wrote on Twitter. "He was an amazing man, mentor & a friend that stuck ... By me closer than a brother! Words can't describe how crushed I am but will live on in his memory & always remember the good times we shared ... Gonna miss u big boy & pitch with a heavy heart 2moro and til the day I take these spikes off!"

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.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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