PEORIA, Ariz. -- Standing inside the dugout at Miller Field in Milwaukee in September, Padres general manager Kevin Towers talked glowingly about the job that first-year manager Bud Black did.

"I think he's handled it very, very well," Towers said. "I think that for the first year, you couldn't ask for more. To have us where we're at right now, he's done a remarkable job."

That job will now extend through the 2009 season, as the Padres on Tuesday picked up the option on Black's contract for next season.

"While we exercised Buddy's option for next year, we believe that he will continue to grow and develop as a Major League manager for many years to come," Towers said in a statement. "He has exceeded our expectations, and we are excited for the future of the Padres under his guidance."

Black led the Padres to an 89-74 record in his first season. The 89 wins were the most for the Padres since the club won a franchise-record 98 games in 1998.

"I think there's three things that allow a manager to separate himself. He's got to be a communicator, he's got to be consistent and he's got to put players where they can be the most successful," Padres catcher Josh Bard said. "I think he's done that. There's no mistaking that Buddy is our leader."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Padres' .546 winning percentage under Black was the best for a first-year manager (minimum 50 games) since Ken Macha with Oakland (.593, 96-66) and Bob Melvin with Seattle (.574, 93-69) in 2003.

The last National League manager with a winning percentage that high in his first season was Bob Brenly for Arizona (.568, 92-70) in 2001.

"When the San Diego Padres hired Bud Black as manager, we knew of his knowledge and passion for the game," Padres CEO Sandy Alderson said in the same statement. "His abilities to communicate, teach and lead are tremendous. Buddy's passion and energy are contagious, not only at the Major League level, but throughout the entire organization."

San Diego pitcher Jake Peavy, who had previously played only under one manager in his Major League career (Bruce Bochy), said he enjoyed working under Black last season and that his personable approach made him easy to play for.

"I think Bud is just relaxed, he doesn't put any pressure on anybody. He let's us be," Peavy said. "I was, not concerned, but interested to see how he handled the pitchers, being a pitching guy, if he was hands off.

"He does a nice job of letting his coaches coach and be the manager of the team, oversee everything, and when the call has to be made, to be the final voice in that. I think Buddy does a nice job in doing that."