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Big-league pitcher, coach had pancreatic cancer

SAN DIEGO CA - JUNE 24:  JustHatcher #80 San Diego Padres carries jersey bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds #48 after

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 24: Justin Hatcher #80 of the San Diego Padres carries the jersey of bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds #48 after an interleague baseball game against the Seattle Mariners at Petco Park on June 24, 2012 in San Diego, California. Ackerfelds died Sunday from cancer. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

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Updated: July 27, 2012 6:24AM

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.

Mr. 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, Mr. 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, Mr. 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.

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


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