Tucson Padres

Lorenzo Bundy swears he has a house in Tucson.

"I know I live here because I make the mortgage payments," the manager of the Albuquerque Isotopes said.

In a good year, Bundy gets to spend six to eight weeks in the Old Pueblo with his wife and daughter. The other forty-plus weeks, the baseball lifer spends on the road.

"Being away from the family, it's what we do in baseball," Bundy said before Albuquerque's 8-7 win over Tucson on Thursday night at Kino Stadium. "But, I love what I do. I love my job and I love coming to the ballpark every day. We all still have dreams. I'm still in pursuit of one.

"This is the only way I'm going to get it done."

Bundy's dream is to be in the major leagues as a coach or manager. He first began managing in the minor leagues in 1990 and has been in pursuit of his dream ever since.

His Tucson adventures began in 1999 when he served as Jim Leyland's bullpen coach for the Colorado Rockies and spent spring training at Hi Corbett Field. Leyland stepped down after the season and Bundy was reassigned within the organization as a roving outfield instructor.

Looking for a home base, he bought a home in Tucson in January 2000. It was where he would spend spring training and was close to his wife's family in Mazatlan, Sinaloa.

After two seasons in that role for the Rockies, Bundy began working all over the map. He spent a season in the Boston Red Sox organization, serving as the hitting coach for the Triple-A team in Pawtucket, R.I., and then a season in El Paso as the hitting coach of the Diamondbacks' Double-A team.

In 2004, he found himself back in Tucson, and served as the hitting coach for the Sidewinders from 2004 to 2006.

Since '06, Bundy has spent a season as the first base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009 and has been the Albuquerque manager since 2011. He also had stops in Las Vegas and in Glendale with the Dodgers' rookie level team.

Through it all, he kept his house in Tucson.

"Tucson is home now," said Bundy, who is able to sleep in his own bed during the four-game series against the Padres. "I've had pressure to move to Phoenix, but I'm happy here."

You would think Bundy gets to spend his offseason in Tucson, but he never really gets one. From October to January, the 53-year-old serves as a manager in the Mexican Winter League.

This past year, his team didn't make the playoffs, so he spent six weeks in Tucson before spring training, which was the longest he's ever spent at home between the two seasons.

"He's like my crazy uncle," said Albuquerque infielder Brian Barden, who played for Bundy for parts of three seasons for the Sidewinders and two years in Mexico. "He's a great guy and real easy to play for. You move around so much as a ballplayer and meet so many people, to have a relationship that withstands that time is obviously special."

Bundy and Barden were part of one of the best Triple-A teams Tucson ever produced. The '06 Sidewinders went 91-53 in the regular season before becoming the Pacific Coast League and Triple-A champions.

Bundy was the hitting coach and Barden hit .298 with 16 homers and 96 RBIs.

Barden was one of many future major-leaguers on the team, including Carlos Quentin, Scott Hairston, Stephen Drew, Miguel Montero, Alberto Callaspo, Chris Young and Micah Owings.

"That was the best team I've been on," Barden said. "I talk about that team all the time. It was my most fun year as a pro. It felt like we won every game."

¡Tus Padres!

• Highlight: Tucson starter Eddie Bonine failed to record an out and gave up seven hits and five earned runs in the first inning en route to the Padres' first loss in six games. Albuquerque had five players record multiple-hit games, led by Alfredo Amezaga, who was 3 for 6 with two runs scored and an RBI. After falling behind early, the Padres tied the game up at five in the fifth, but gave up two more runs in the sixth and another in the seventh.

• Big number: 29: The two teams combined for 29 hits in a game that spanned more than 3 1/2 hours.

• Tonight's starters: LHP Robbie Erlin (3-0, 3.44 ERA), Tucson, vs. RHP Blake Johnson (3-1, 4.94 ERA), Albuquerque


• What: Albuquerque at Padres

• When: 7:05 p.m.

• Radio: 1290-AM (tape delayed, follows Arizona baseball game)

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk