First Base Dilemna

It isn't just Xavier Nady that is being groomed at first base in the absence of Phil Nevin. Terrence Long, Tom Wilson, Jeff Cirillo and Brian Buchanon are all auditioning for the worst case scenario.

Many knew Brian Buchanon , Cirillo or even imagined Wilson could play first, but Terrence Long?

"Terrence Long plays a great first base," Wally Joyner said.

Joyner has been working with all of the potential candidates that are working out at first. Joyner was one of the best defenders to play the position and is sharing his wisdom with the Padres club this spring.

Joyner made a point to mention Tom Wilson as a possible step in at first.

Jeff Cirillo will start in Tucson on Thursday and Manager Bruce Bochy backed up Joiner by saying Tom Wilson will also get some playing time at the position.

That makes five players who could play the position and actually may continue to hurt Xavier Nady's chances of making the club. Nady was slightly stung by the moves that essentially relegated him to another season in Portland. With Nevin down, Nady had a chance, albeit slim. Brian Buchanon is the front-runner to sub in should Nevin's absence be prolonged.

Nady began his professional career at first base, playing 110 games at the position during his rookie 2001 season at Class A Lake Elsinore, where he was the California League's MVP and an all-star at first base. He was moved to the outfield in 2002.

The best possible scenario is the healthy return of Phil Nevin. Without him, the Padres will certainly not be the team that Kevin Towers expects to score 800 runs.

"You can't ever say you feel good about losing your cleanup hitter for any amount of time," Towers said. "These are the type of guys you want in your lineup because they can do so much damage. We have certainly more depth this year than we had last year but I don't think you ever, regardless of the depth that you have, want to lose one of your core players."

The Game: The Padres lost to the Oakland A's for the second time in as many days to the tune of 6-3. Sterling Hitchcock took the loss, yielding three runs on seven hits in the start. Dennis Tankersley pitched two innings, allowing a solo home run to Mark Kotsay and striking out four. Tank also hit a two run home run in the fourth inning. Jon Knott contributed a pinch hit solo home run for the other Padre run.

Friar Minor League Notes:

The Southern League and Comcast Sports Southeast have agreed to broadcast 10 Southern League games in 2004. The broadcast will feature every team in the Southern League at least once, and the Mobile BayBears on two occasions.

The Lake Elsinore Storm will unveil its new online ticketing service Monday, March 15 to kick off individual game ticket sales for the 2004 baseball season. The user-friendly system, which will allow fans to select their seats anywhere in the stadium for the game of their choice, will be available beginning at 10:00 am March 15 through the Storm's website - Tickets for Opening Day April 9th, will also be made available to the general public for the first time with the unveiling of the new online system.

Ticket prices for the 2004 season start at $7.00 for reserved seating. Preferred reserved and box seats are $8.00 and preferred box seats are available for $9.00. Group discounts are available for parties of 25 or more.

The Storm celebrated its tenth anniversary season with a fourth consecutive playoff berth in 2003. Season tickets, mini-plans and group discounts for the 2004 season are now on sale. For more information, contact the Storm at (909) 245-4487 or visit them online at

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