Source: Towers out as Padres' GM

Kevin Towers, the longest-tenured general manager in the major leagues, has been fired by the San Diego Padres, a person familiar with the situation said Friday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club hadn’t made an announcement. The Padres said only that CEO Jeff Moorad will address the media today.

Towers, in his 14th season as Padres GM, said in an e-mail that he can’t comment on his situation. He is under contract through next season.

Under Towers, the Padres won four NL West titles and reached the 1998 World Series, where they were swept by the Yankees.

The Padres are 74-85. Coming off a 99-loss season in 2008, they have rebounded with a strong final two months, thanks in part to moves by Towers. Since July 28, they are 36-23, fourth-best in the major leagues over that span.

Attendance drops for 2nd straight year

Attendance has dropped 6.9 percent across the major leagues to its lowest level since 2003, an average of 30,276 fans per game. That follows a 0.8 percent slide last year from the record average of 32,785 set in 2007.

Given the recession and the decrease in capacity in two new ballparks that opened in New York this year, baseball officials are pleased.

“Obviously, I’ve stated how well we’ve done,” commissioner Bud Selig said this week.

Twenty-two of the 30 teams have seen decreases, and three of the teams with increases are up less than 1 percent.

Short hops

Dave Trembley will return to manage the Baltimore Orioles in 2010. … Reds reliever Arthur Rhodes will miss the last three games of the season because of a broken left big toe. … The Reds fired pitching coach Dick Pole. … The Yankees will install 60 cafe seats on the field level and sell 200 standing room places during the postseason. … Lenny Dykstra’s championship ring from the 1986 World Series was auctioned off for more than $56,000. … Michael Weiner is closer to succeeding Donald Fehr as head of the players’ union. … A new book by a former employee of Alcor, the company that froze Ted Williams’ remains, details the alleged mistreatment of the Hall of Famer’s body by the company. Larry Johnson was the source of a 2003 Sports Illustrated article that first mentioned the allegations.