--Josh Barfield also was named the Most Valuable Player of the California League after hitting .337 with 16 homers and 128 RBI with high Class A Lake Elsinore. Barfield was taken in the fourth round of the 2001 draft. The Pitcher of the Year was Gabe Ribas. The 6-foot-4, 23-year-old right-hander, a 14th-round pick in the 2002 draft, was 13-3 with a 2.25 ERA in 19 starts (with 116 strikeouts in as many innings) at low Class A Fort Wayne before finishing the season 4-5 with a 4.81 ERA with Lake Elsinore.
--With the city of San Diego still trying to decide how to handle the traffic load around the new downtown ballpark, the Padres have announced several changes in the times of their games at Petco Park. For at least the first season (2004), the Padres will not play any Thursday afternoon games because of the anticipated traffic and parking problems a day game would cause. And Sunday afternoon games will begin at 1 p.m. rather than the Padres' traditional Sunday starting time of 2 p.m.
--The Padres will debut in their new home on April 8 against the Giants. That will be the 35th anniversary of the Padres' first game. San Diego will open the season with a three-game series in Los Angeles.
--RHP Scott Linebrink, who became a favorite with manager Bruce Bochy and general manager Kevin Towers during his first season with the Padres, will apparently have knee surgery this month. Linebrink, who was 2-1 with the Padres with a 2.81 ERA in 43 appearances, developed swelling in his right knee during the last 10 days of the season. But despite having an MRI and having the knee drained, Linebrink continued to pitch. "He never once said no to a call," said Bochy.
The Ugly Truth:
22-63 -- Padres' record in 2003 when the opponent scored first.
10-76 -- Padres' record when they trailed after six innings.
4-82 -- Padres' record when they trailed after eight.
42-34 -- Padres' record when they scored first.
47 -- Games in which the Padres scored three or fewer runs.
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