Dave Trembley was certain he would be asked to return as manager of the Baltimore Orioles in 2009, an expectation that was fulfilled Friday.

The Orioles announced they will bring Trembley back next season, exercising an option that was in the contract he signed last year. The club also added a team option for 2010.

"I always knew that I was coming back. I had a lot of people asking me about it, and I said I wasn't worried about it," Trembley said. "I never doubted it one bit, because I'm dealing with people who think hard work, being fair and being honest is important."

Baltimore is in last place in the AL East and took a six-game losing streak into Friday night's game against the Oakland Athletics, but the team has been remarkably competitive for much of the season.

The Orioles were 44-41 on July 4 and 60-63 on Aug. 17, but injuries have contributed to a 1-11 slide that dropped their record to 63-76.

The rebuilding Orioles appear assured of an 11th straight losing season for the first time since 1946-56, which includes three years as the St. Louis Browns. But Trembley has received kudos for the no-nonsense manner in which he's run a team which placed only one player _ closer George Sherrill _ on the AL All-Star squad.

Club president Andy MacPhail, who made the decision to retain Trembley with the blessing of owner Peter Angelos, lauded the team's "energy, effort and enthusiasm" under its manager.

"There is a lot required of a major league manager, whether it be the tactical aspects of the game, communication with the players, communicating with the fans through the media, dealing with the front office. For lack of a better word, the motivation required to keep playing (hard), particularly when they're going through a tough stretch," MacPhail said. "I think David has excelled in those areas."

The Orioles were 103-129 under Trembley through Thursday, but his respect-the-game approach has earned him the devotion of the front office and his players.

"He deserves it. He has done a lot for the organization in his year-and-a-half," Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis said. "He's been a great manager. He knows his stuff. From a manager's standpoint, he can only do so much. But I think he has done a great job. He really knows his stuff and it will be fun to have him back next year."

Trembley, 56, was appointed interim manager on June 18, 2007, replacing Sam Perlozzo. Trembley formally became the 17th manager in Orioles history when the interim tag was removed on Aug. 22 last year.

Later that day, Baltimore lost 30-3 to Texas and proceeded to go on a nine-game losing streak. That's one reason why MacPhail chose to make the announcement of Trembley's return while the team was in the midst of its worst skid of the season.

"I didn't want to replicate what happened last year. Last year the moment we extended him, boom, this thing dropped," MacPhail said. "Look, he was going to get extended one way or another, and I would just as soon do it in a demonstration of support than do it and have everyone say every time we extend the guy the team goes into a funk."

Little was expected from the Orioles this season, but Trembley called upon his 20 seasons of experience as a minor league manager to squeeze positive results from the squad until injuries to several pitchers, including Sherrill, took its toll.

This is Trembley's 24th season in professional baseball. He joined the Orioles as bullpen coach and field coordinator in 2007, proving that someone who dutifully serves in the minor leagues just might get the opportunity to shine in the majors.

"I'll just be forever grateful for every day I get to be here. That's how I feel," he said. "What it's done for me, what it's done for my family, but more important is what I hope it does for a lot of people that have kind of been in my shoes for a long time. ... It gives them some incentive and recognizes that hard work, doing things right and treating people right is really important."

Trembley has asked his entire coaching staff to return in 2009, and MacPhail agreed with the request.

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